Breaking a Rental Agreement in Alberta: What You Need to Know
Breaking a rental agreement can be a daunting task, but sometimes unforeseen circumstances can leave you with no other option. As a tenant in Alberta, it is important to understand your rights and obligations when it comes to breaking a rental agreement.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), the landlord is entitled to seek compensation if a tenant breaks a lease before its expiration date. Compensation can include rent for the remainder of the lease term, any advertising costs incurred by the landlord to find a new tenant, and any other expenses related to re-renting the property.
However, there are some situations where a tenant may be able to break a rental agreement without facing penalties. These situations include:
1. Early termination clause: If the lease agreement includes an early termination clause, the tenant may be able to break the lease without penalty if the conditions outlined in the clause are met. For example, some agreements may require the tenant to provide a certain amount of notice, or pay a fee in order to terminate the lease early.
2. Domestic violence: If a tenant needs to vacate the property due to domestic violence, they may be able to terminate the lease without penalty. Proof of domestic violence, such as a restraining order, is usually required.
3. Uninhabitable living conditions: If the rental property becomes uninhabitable due to circumstances beyond the tenant’s control, such as a fire or flood, the tenant may be able to break the lease without penalty.
4. Landlord breach of agreement: If the landlord breaches the terms of the lease agreement, such as failing to make necessary repairs, the tenant may be able to break the lease without penalty.
If a tenant wishes to break a lease agreement, it is important to follow the correct procedures to avoid legal issues. The first step is to provide written notice to the landlord outlining the reasons for terminating the lease. The notice should include the tenant’s contact information, the date the lease will be terminated, and any relevant documentation supporting the reasons for termination.
If the landlord agrees to terminate the lease without penalty, a mutual termination agreement should be signed by both parties. If the landlord does not agree, they may file a claim with the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) to seek compensation.
Breaking a rental agreement can be a complicated process, but understanding your rights and obligations as a tenant can help you navigate the situation with confidence. If you are unsure about your options or have questions about breaking a lease agreement, it is recommended to seek legal advice.