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wave - how the 4th wave of covid affects landlords and tenants

How the 4th Wave of Covid Affects Landlords and Tenants

Many landlords still recovering from the first wave of COVID wonder how the 4th wave of covid affects landlords and tenants.

Following is a quick summary.

Protection from eviction for nonpayment of rent

Protections implemented by the RTA  during Alberta’s State of Public Health Emergency at the Federal and Provincial levels from March 27 to May 1, 2020, ended as of August 14, 2020. The safeguards protected tenants from eviction because of nonpayment of rent. Landlords can now increase rent with proper notice, charge late fees to rental payments after June 30, 2020, or evict tenants for nonpayment.

Landlords have been allowed to evict during COVID for significant damage to the property, physically assaulting or threatening to assault the landlord or other tenants, or committing illegal acts on the premises.

Utility Deferral Program

Under Alberta’s Utility Payment Deferral Program, which extended to sub-metering agreements between March 17 – June 18, 2020, utilities were allowed to be deferred for up to six months. This deferral period ended June 18, 2020.

Entry

Landlords are not allowed to enter a home if either the landlord, tenant, or potential buyer are in quarantine or self-isolating due to COVID. However, landlords have the right to show the premises to potential renters/buyers without COVID with proper notice.

Landlords should also request recent travel information and assess risk by asking standard COVID health questions from prospective tenants/buyers. As a safety measure, landlords should clean all surfaces and high-touch areas with a disinfectant both before and after viewings.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), Landlords are allowed to enter the property with sufficient notice to inspect the state of repair, make repairs, control pests, or show the property to potential tenants or buyers.

Breaking the Lease

Tenants who want to break their lease because of job loss due to COVID should talk to their landlords to see if the landlord will agree to release them and under what terms. As always, it’s good practice to document, date, and sign all agreements.

Tenants who put others at risk

As a landlord or tenant, if you suspect a tenant/tenants may have COVID and are not self-isolating, you have several options:

  • Distance yourself from the tenant
  • Remind the tenant of the isolation requirements
  • Send the tenant links to government resources on COVID precautions
  • If you believe your tenant/landlord is putting others at risk, contact environmental public health online and file a complaint or call Alberta Health Services 811. Once a case is confirmed, landlords may post a notice that there is a confirmed case of COVID in the building but cannot include any information of the tenant’s identity.

Protecting common areas

The RTA specifies that landlords’ rental properties must meet health standards under the Public Health Act. Under the Minimum Housing and Health Standards, landlords must maintain clean and sanitary conditions in all common areas. For information on government resources for diminishing COVID, click here.

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