On March 27, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced new measures to address residential tenancy issues arising during and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Max Carroll and Jeffrey Hernaez of our Vancouver office wrote yesterday about similar measures put in place in British Columbia.
Pursuant to the Public Health Act (Alberta) and the Minister’s powers under the Residential Tenancies Act, the Minister of Service Alberta made four Ministerial Orders to amend the Residential Tenancies Act and the Mobile Home Site Tenancies Act. The main details affecting landlords and tenants are:
- Order SA:003/2020 and Order SA:004/2020 - As of April 1, 2020, landlords are prohibited from charging fees or penalties for late payment of rent for the period from April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020. Any provision in a lease that imposes fees or penalties for late payment of rent during that period of time is void, and no retroactive collection of late fees or penalties for the April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 period will be permitted.
- Order SA:005/2020 - As of April 1, 2020, before making an application for possession (i.e. evicting a tenant) for non-payment of rent or utilities, landlords are required to show that a reasonable payment plan was in place and the tenant failed to follow it, or make reasonable efforts to enter into a meaningful payment plan.
- Order SA:006/2020 - As of March 27, 2020, any new or pre-existing rental rate increases scheduled to take effect are suspended for the term of the Order, including rent increases that would occur where a fixed-term tenancy has expired or been terminated but the same landlord and tenant(s) have entered or are entering into a new lease for the same premises – in which case the old rental amount remains in place.
It is important to note that the Orders apply to residential tenancies only, and not commercial tenancies.
Unless they are extended by the Minister, each Order will lapse upon the earlier of (i) August 14, 2020, (ii) the end of the state of public health emergency in Alberta, (iii) termination of the Order by the Minister, and (iv) termination of the Order by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
If you have any questions about these measures, please contact any member of our Real Estate Group.
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