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5 Tips To Sell Tenant Occupied Properties in Alberta

I’m well known around my office for knowing quite a bit about landlording and the laws that govern tenancies in Alberta, or at least knowing where to go to find answers. It’s not surprising that I get a lot more questions when it’s spring and leases are up for students or people want to sell. I’ve had the same basic question twice this week so I thought it’s blog post time. (Thanks to Bill, Doug, Oliver and Christian for the push to actually get typing.)

The essential question is two-fold. First, can I get rid of the tenant so I have a vacant property to market and sell? Second, if I’m selling with a tenant in place, how do I get in and how can I get vacant possession for the buyers? There’s a lot of Realtors out there who don’t understand the law in enough detail to help you decide if you can/should accept an offer that required vacant possession. Imagine you accept an offer that asks for 30 day possession and your tenant refuses. Your sale could collapse and you may end up with a lawsuit on your hands. These tips may help and I’m always happy to help you sell your rental property.

Access to Your Rental Property

An agent called my yesterday who has a property where the tenant is refusing to let the Realtors in for a quick look around. Here’s the first big rule which helps owners and Realtors: Tenants can’t refuse access. The only exception is on a day of Religious worship if the tenants have informed the owner in writing in advance. I’ll quote from Service Alberta’s website:

After giving the 24-hour notice, a landlord can enter between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., but is not allowed to enter on a holiday or on the tenant’s day of religious worship. The landlord can enter on a Sunday if the tenant’s day of religious worship is not a Sunday and the tenant has provided the landlord with a written notice of that day.

My advice to the owner or agent. Post a notice, leave voice mails, text messages, or whatever, and then just go. I’m presuming you have keys, but just go. If nothing else the tenant who refuses access usually has committed a substantial breach such as having 5 roommates, having trashed the place or is otherwise contravening the lease.

Notice to Vacate (Fixed-term leases vs month to month)

If your tenant is on a fixed term lease you’ve got a double edged sword. First, you can’t break a fixed term lease, no matter what the purchase agreement or the lease says. You’ve got to wait until the lease expires however you’re not obligated to renew the lease or go to month to month. Your only other legal option here is eviction for substantial breach. There’s one more option I’ll talk about at the end.

If your tenant is on a month to month lease, you’ve got more options. I’m going to quote Service Alberta again (emphasis mine).

The only reasons landlords can terminate periodic tenancies are:

  • the landlord or a relative of the landlord intends to occupy the premises,
  • the landlord has entered into an agreement to sell the premises and all the conditions of the sale have been satisfied or waived, or the agreement is to sell one detached or semi-detached dwelling unit and/or condominium unit, and the purchaser requests in writing that the landlord give the tenant a notice to terminate the tenancy,
  • the landlord intends to demolish the building in which the premises are located or make major renovations requiring the premises to be unoccupied,
  • the premises will be used for a non-residential purpose,
  • the landlord is an educational institution and the tenant is or will no longer be a student,
  • the premises rented are subsidized public housing and the tenant is no longer eligible for such housing, has not reported income respecting eligibility or the public funding for the program is cancelled,
  • the tenant is employed by the landlord and the employment is terminated,
  • the premises are being converted to condominium use, or
  • if a tenant has committed a substantial breach of the tenancy agreement.

Now please note that you still have to give 90 days notice when the purchaser has requested vacant possession. That’s 90 days from the end of the month they’re supposed to vacate, so it can be closer to 120 days in practice.

Family/Substantial Renovations

The smart reader who actually went down the list of reasons to terminate above will be asking if we can use family or renos as a reason. Yes, but you actually have to take the action required. The notice periods aren’t fun either. For condo conversion or substantial renos, you need a full year notice. For family or owner occupation you can get away with “just” 90 days. **Note that if you’re buying it for a rental you can’t use these reasons to terminate the old tenants’ lease and put your own tenant in. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen but if a well informed tenant wants to they can force you to rent to them.

The long story short is that fixed term leases seem more rigid but they’re actually easier if you have a difficult tenant because you can just not renew the lease and the tenant has no recourse.


It’s tough to do pictures and respect the tenant’s privacy. First, the entire process we undergo requires we be professional and above board. Tenants need to understand we’re respecting the law and trying to make the process as painless as possible for all parties. This is not the time to take out your frustration on your tenants.

Three tips for pictures:

  1. Get their permission in writing. Realtors have a form we can use (see AREA’s webforms), but just a simple written agreement will do in most cases.
  2. Do your best to protect their privacy and let them know that you’re doing it. Give them lots of advance notice of the date you or your photographer is shooting. Encourage them to do a quick clean for things like personal photos, utility bills, underwear or expensive possessions that can be easily moved.
  3. Be realistic with your photos. If you do a super-clean and make the property look too good, you’ll attract unqualified buyers who will just walk away when they see the mess that is reality for your tenant.


I have three great tips for managing showings and one thing that drives me nuts.

First, refer to my first point above – tenants cannot refuse showings except for holidays, showings after 8pm or on days of religious worship. It might suck, and they might decide to sit at home and be nasty, but they can’t stop you from coming in.

Second, I often get owners to buy a stack of $5 gift cards to Tim Hortons or Starbucks. Every time I show, I leave a gift card and a thank you note. You’d be shocked at how quickly tenants get onside when you give them treats. I guess they’re much like toddlers.

Third, give advance notice for showing windows. Imagine that instead of giving 24 hour notice and setting up a showing every time you get a request, you give  the tenants a letter on Monday morning with notice for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoon between 2-6pm. That fulfils your legal requirement for notice, and then you follow up with a phone call or text for actually scheduled showings. I prefer to work out a good time with tenants ahead of time and keep everyone happy. Paper letters like this help keep tenants happy and cooperative because then they really see that you’re working hard to fulfil the legal obligations you’re all working under.

However, Realtors, please don’t have buyers agents contact the tenant directly. I might be polite but there’s a lot of morons out there who will harass your tenant with 1 hour notice attempted showings.

Sneaky Tricks

Ok, so you might have the perfect buyer who is paying $10,000 over market but needs possession in 45 days. Here’s a couple ideas to help.

First, help them find a new place. Call, email and post messages for other investors who might have a space. Maybe you even want to buy another property knowing you’ve got a great tenant.

Second, offer them cash. I’m usually a fan of paying their first month’s rent and security deposit. If you’re getting a premium or solving a problem a couple grand is less of a problem than a frustrated sale.


Owners, you need to read and understand the Residential Tenancies Act and the Ministerial Regulation. There’s other strategies we’ve learned over the years, but that’ll have to wait for another blog post. Give me a shout if you have any questions or if there’s any way I can help.

{ 77 comments… add one }
  • Bill April 29, 2014, 10:49 am

    Great info Chris,

    One other thing I would add is if the property is being sold as a revenue property I would impress upon the current tenants that the condition of the property will reflect on whether potential purchasers would be willing to keep them in place.
    There’s no guarantee the buyer won’t ask for vacant possession, but if the place looks impeccable and the tenants work with the current landlord/Realtor to assist, it will go a long ways towards them being able to stay in place!


    • Chris May 3, 2014, 2:18 pm

      Thanks Bill, good point. There’s lots of options for every situation.

  • Furnace July 11, 2014, 11:11 pm

    If your lease is month to month and the landlord decides on 15 of the month that you have to move by first of next month, is that legal or they have to give you 30 days notice.


    • Chris July 11, 2014, 11:16 pm

      Two possibilities. First, if they just want you out for no reason. They’re not allowed to. Second, they’re saying you have to move for one of the other reasons like they’ve sold the property, they have to give you three months from the start of the next month (e.g. August 1st). You’re welcome to give me a shout to run through the options. This also assumes you’ve paid your rents and are otherwise being a good, quiet, law abiding tenant.

  • Erica December 16, 2014, 11:00 pm

    Great info in here!
    I wanted to ask about a situation that my husband and I have found ourselves in. We have everything lined up to rent a perfect home, but when we went to view te property there was a for sale sign up. The owners explained that they are separating and have had the house up for sale with no luck. (120 days) They have decided to rent the home out instead and assure us that they won’t place it back on the market for a few years. I asked to sign a long term lease agreement and they agreed to a 4 year lease. In this lease we will have in writing that they will not place the property for sale during our rental agreement.
    My question is, is this a binding legal document and does it have any clout? Or can they get away with a 90 day notice whenever?
    Thank you for your thoughts 🙂

    • Chris December 18, 2014, 4:05 pm

      Hi Erica, here’s my understanding. If you both sign a 4-year lease they can’t force you out. Period. No paperwork required, and even if the lease had a clause in it saying they could kick you out it’s not enforcable. If they tried you’d file an application at RTDRS and they’d let you stay.

      A word of caution though – a 4 year lease is something you can’t break either. If you needed to move for any reason, you’re on the hook for the rest of the lease unless they manage to re-rent it. You could in theory sub-let it but they could also have to approve the next person and that can be a problem. Feel free to call if you have any questions.

  • Tye January 10, 2015, 11:04 pm

    You are a terrible person. You consider the benefits of the landlords only and don’t give a damn about the tenants. They are also human beings!

    • Bill January 12, 2015, 6:04 am

      Actually Tye after a comment like that I wonder who the terrible person is? You know virtually nothing about Chris, about the people he helps, the homes he provides to tenants or really anything about him.

      Never mind the reasons for a landlord to need to sell their property. I’ve talked to landlords who need to sell for financial reasons, who’ve needed to sell because tenants took advantage of them and others who’ve been sabotaged by tenants when they try to sell their property.

      Just because they need to sell, doesn’t mean they don’t care about tenants, But they do need to know the proper procedure to do it which is what Chris tried to help with here.

      Perhaps you need to realize landlords are human beings as well.


    • John May 6, 2015, 4:14 pm

      Being a tenant I am also going to have to disagree with you Tye.

      The Residential Tenancies Act is there to protect both parties in the rental process. All Chris is pointing out is how to properly follow its rules and regulations to avoid a potential stressful/difficult situation for both the renter and landlord. This is also good information for renters looking to understand there rights better.

      This is from a renter who had to take a landlord to Landlord and Tenant board (and won) in Ontario for a illegal eviction and is currently in the process of relocating to a new property with the help of my landlord in Alberta to close the deal on my current place. It can be a peaceful transition.

      Don’t be a TROLL on the internet.


    • derek May 31, 2015, 6:00 pm

      Well said Bill he must be a money grabbing landlord too

    • NL September 11, 2018, 10:51 pm

      Tye Tye Tye – when you grow up and get to be a landlord and you get one of the ‘majority’ of BAD renters and they ruin your property – violates your lease – or don’t pay their rent on time – you get back to me about ‘poor renters’.

  • Mimi January 15, 2015, 11:05 am

    Hi, I’m looking at purchasing an investment property that currently has tenants who are willing to stay (haven’t gotten into details of fixed vs. periodic leases quite yet). I will be asking why the owner is selling (cashing out vs. dealing with a difficult tenant), how do I go about verifying if the tenants are upstanding tenants? Any pointers and references would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Chris January 15, 2015, 4:30 pm

      Mimi, I have a standard form I ask tenants to sign that lays out the terms and balance. For apartment buildings it’s also common to get a statement from the owner with rents, balances and deposits and have the owner sign it.

  • Joani March 13, 2015, 5:57 pm

    Speaking as both a landlord and a tenant it is rather appalling to see renters being referred to as “toddlers” or in the grossly demeaning terms that you have portrayed them here. Landlords are all too willing to take money from their tenants every month, but woe to the renter if they get in the way of the landlord in any way shape or form.

    The greatest fool, in my opinion, is one who doesn’t realize the the only rule in life is to treat others with the respect we feel we deserve ourselves and to realize that life is short. Disdain and greed will always come back to bite you in the ass.

    • john May 6, 2015, 4:19 pm

      I agree Joani,

      “I guess they’re much like toddlers.” is very offensive and demeaning to tenants as people.

      Chris if you want respect treat others with its as well.


      • Erin May 23, 2016, 6:54 pm

        Having both toddlers and tenants I can say they are nothing alike. Toddlers are smart. Tenants on the other hand never seem to learn.

        I’ll be using the $5 gift card trick, albeit not with my kids.

        • Barb December 29, 2019, 5:06 pm

          I agree with Joani’s comment and sentiment completely, and find your statements most unattractive.
          I have been a tenant in my current residence for 6 years. My home and yard are well cared for, my rent is current ( I hand deliver days before the month’s end because it is the landlords preference not to have post dated cheque’s in case of loss), there has never been a complaint regarding my conduct, etc.
          I understand that many investors have negative experiences with tenants and sympathize with inconvenience and even financial loss that occurs when tenants do not honour their agreements nor care for personal property.
          That said, in my over two decades of property management experience, I had very few difficult tenants, and fewer incidents of financial loss for the property owners I represented.
          This was perhaps to some small degree to luck, but much more so do to due diligence in vetting prospects, a respectful and courteous manner in regarding ‘my’ tenants, and attentiveness and effort in management practices.
          Please do not paint all of your tenants with your previous bad experience.
          We are not substandard people because we do not own property, as well, we are not toddlers to be tricked or treated in anything less than a respectful manner unless we have demonstrated clearly that we personally do not warrant kind consideration. In fact, a bit of appreciation might be in order for paying rents which assist in the further accumulation of wealth for those that have been able to acquire investment property.

    • Marilyn Alexander July 14, 2021, 12:48 am

      I agree with you Joani. The derogatory remark about renters being akin to toddlers is so disrespectful. I would hate to have him as a Landlord or Realtor. It’s condescending and insulting. Maybe he should try to understand how disruptive and stressful it is for a renter to go through this process, not knowing WHEN or WHERE one will end up not to mention the out of pocket expenses of moving and have to wait for the return of security deposits. Landlords always hold all the cards and try to portray renters in a negative fashion. We are at the mercy of what they say about us when we ask them for a reference.

  • Brad May 15, 2015, 5:15 am

    Great post. a few questions.
    I am selling my house, where I currently live in the basement and rent to a family upstairs. They haven’t paid rent in 1.5 months (almost $2500 owed now). I have served them with an N4 form as notice of possible eviction and have yet to collect rent..
    Now, we have received an offer with a closing date of June 1 (2 weeks away) and the buyer wants vacant possession on closing. I can be gone by then, but the tenants are signed on for another 3.5 months. here are my questions/issues:
    1) if we sell with tenants still in the unit, can the buyer come after us for anything?
    2) I understand the eviction process of serving the L1 Form, but I would rather forget the $2500 owed to me, and see them leave in 2 weeks. how can i do that legally?
    3) Can the tenant come after a previous landlord for selling their rental unit and not giving them proper notice of ownership change?
    4) What happens if we push the sale through, with the understanding that tenants are leaving by June 1, but find out that the tenants have stayed and are fighting with the new owners?

    In Sum: My question is, “Can i be held liable if I sell my house to a buyer with the request that the property be vacant on closing, but the tenants remain and decide to argue the eviction?” Because in my reading, it seems that the Buyers are the vulnerable ones here, assuming that the tenants are leaving in 2 weeks. (they are aware that tenants are signed until Aug 2015).

  • Chris August 10, 2015, 9:30 pm

    Stu, I’m sure you’ve got legit reasons to be annoyed. I have a half dozen or more tenant occupied listings and my seller clients and I have a discussion at the outset that we can’t accept an offer that breaks the law, for example by breaking a fixed term lease. I regularly have to explain the RTA to landlords, Realtors and tenants alike – all of whom can behave like toddlers. As for tenants responding to incentives like toddlers, I was potty training one of mine at the time with smarties and it seemed apt.

  • Katie October 10, 2015, 5:02 pm

    My lease has a clause stating, the home can only be shown to prospective tenants, mortgagees during the last month of tenancy. Now he’s trying to breech this agreement and show the home and there are 5 months left in the lease. I have not trashed the home as stated earlier as to why people do not want the home to show. 5 months of strangers in your home and scheduling is ridiculous. As a tenant I am entitled to peaceful enjoyment with the landlord interfering.

  • Brian March 14, 2016, 10:32 am

    Just food for thought, ServiceAlberta indicates (see link below) that notices that cover multiple days are not allowed given that the notice must indicate specific times and that a large range of hours for multiple days may not pass the test of what a “reasonable duration” is. Likely not an issue if you pick up the phone and discuss your plan to show with the tenant and come to an agreement that works best for both of you. A bit of communication can go a long way rather than giving your tenant the cable company treatment of showing between the hours of 8 and 8 sometime between now and the year 2020. https://www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/pdf/RTA/10LANDLORDS_RIGHT_OF_ENTRY.pdf

    • Chris March 29, 2016, 10:12 am

      Thanks for the link Brian! You’re right and we both agree that clear, prompt and honest communication is the best way to keep everyone happy! I’ve never thought that tacking a piece of paper to someone’s door was a particularly effective way to go about things.

  • Cindy March 17, 2016, 8:10 pm

    Hi Chris, I need clarity regarding selling a residential property leased to a tenant for a one year fixed term . Is there any way the purchasers can break the lease or do they have to honour it until it expires ( or , I guess, not buy the property if they need vacant possession?) thanks !

    • Chris March 29, 2016, 10:11 am

      Hi Cindy, I’m a little late replying but the short answer is no, you can’t. In reality if the tenant is willing to break the lease and you’re willing to let them, then that’s fine, but it’s still a legal grey area. There may be some case law about that point coming down.

  • Erin May 23, 2016, 7:00 pm

    My husband and I are in need of advice. Our rental property is for sale and our tenants are actively persuading buyers to not buy our property. They insist on being there for every showing and make the showings uncomfortable. They complain and scoff and make nasty comments during the showings. We’re reaching 50 showings with no offers.
    Is there any legal basis for stopping the tenants from doing this?

    I like your $5 gift card suggestion, but in this case the tenant is vengeful and trying to screw us out of spite. It’s basically war.


    • Chris May 25, 2016, 11:54 am

      Erin, there’s a lot of variables on that one, feel free to give me a call.
      I should say that your tenants don’t have a legal basis I’m aware of to refuse showings when they’re not present. That’s your best option – work around your tenants’ schedules. A really great broker can help make the deal happen if they’re aware and well connected to the market. You can also consider taking them to dispute resoulution but it’d be a tough case to argue clearly.

  • Amber May 26, 2016, 12:47 am

    Hi Chris, my husband and I have a house that is currently rented out on a 12 month fixed term lease. The lease on this property expires on July 31st of this year. My husband has contacted the tenant today informing her of our intent to list the property. We have contacted a realtor and plan on listing it tomorrow. She has no desire to stay another 12 month term and we want to sell it since that is the case. She asked my husband can we list it while she is still living there? Since the property is fixed term we would make the possession for after the lease expires. Are we missing anything else? We want to make this as painless for all parties involved as possible. Thanks!

    • Chris May 26, 2016, 11:47 am

      Hi Amber, sounds like you’re doing things right and yes, you can list it now. It’s best to loop your tenant into the process now – having buyers come through a house while getting ready to move can be frustrating. There are good ways to incentivize your tenant to help and keep things as presentable as possible, including Tims cards, helping with moving and/or some of the repairs/work that might otherwise come out of their damage deposit.

  • Sol June 1, 2016, 3:23 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Great post. I’m thinking of selling one of our rental properties, but it is nearly 2 hours away in another city. My idea instead of getting a realtor to sell it for us and deal with all the viewings and any possible hassles with the tenants is to use one of the realtor for less options where the seller does most of the work thus paying less realtor fees.
    By doing this I can entice the tenant to show the rental unit on my behalf with the promise of a finders fee if the house sells. This way the tenant has a vested interest in keeping the place clean and open to multiple viewings.
    What are your thoughts on this?

    • Chris June 2, 2016, 9:10 am

      Sol, I love the idea of a incentive to encourage the tenant to help facilitate the deal. I don’t think the rest of your idea is a bad one but I think that a good agent will do a better job, particularly in a small town where you may need the reach to find the right buyers. Maybe your tenant has good sales skills, but most of mine don’t.

  • maddy June 6, 2016, 12:35 pm

    we have a tenant that moved in April 20th was late for May’s rent then had a guest who was drunk and broke into tenants downstairs home while she slept. We have received a warning letter from by-law due to grass in front and back yard also complaints from neighbors due to 3 am fighting. She also has some one staying there for more then 3 weeks who is not on lease. we went to the home one day to view with a potential tenant there was a letter posted on her door we believe it is a letter of objection but did not want to touch it just in case it was not for us. I informed her via text that if she has a letter of objection to please serve it to us in person registered mail or we can arrange a date and time to pick up she has yet to respond. Her eviction is June 9th and the house is not even packed yet nor any signs of her vacating the premises nor has she paid any money for the month of June. What are our legal next steps? Thank you your site is perfect!

    • Chris June 6, 2016, 1:06 pm

      Maddy, it sounds like a tough one. I’d suggest that you get official right away and plan to go to dispute resolution (though the timelines are a little complex). I’d actually suggest passing it to a professional organization like ServIt.

      • maddy June 6, 2016, 1:24 pm

        My spouse went to get the legal papers for a mediation date or court date and they told him he could not do anything until the 9th IF she is not gone

  • AlwaysRight July 10, 2016, 9:12 pm

    “I guess they’re much like toddlers.” – ha, coming from a real estate agent. There is a saying among my group of friends: if you fail at everything in life, you can always become a real estate agent.

  • Fred July 27, 2016, 3:13 pm

    Just found this article; good suggestions, thanks! We have a tenant on a fixed-term lease till next May, and we are hoping they will want to break it, as they are proving to be disappointing. They have neglected to tell us about a few things that resulted in more money and time to fix than if they had kept us informed, as well as being very lax in responding to texts or emails. They are also claiming some things as “normal wear and tear” which actually are the result of forcing something till it breaks.
    I guess we are stuck with them unless they commit a substantial breach which I doubt they will do. Not sure we will want to rent to anyone with kids after this…Can we rent to child-less people, or is that deemed discriminatory? We allow pets, and have had better luck with them! Thanks!!

  • Kg September 6, 2016, 8:51 pm

    Hey quick question, can a landlord put “for rent” signs on the door/front yard before the tenant has vacated the property and without the tenants permission?

    • Chris March 8, 2017, 1:25 pm

      Sure, there’s no rules I’m aware of which limit that action except for bylaw’s rules on size of the sign.

  • dylan jordan November 6, 2016, 7:09 pm

    It’s fantastic to see such a useful post. I think it could also be useful for everyone to know how and where to fill a form online. I’ve found some decent tutorials on how to fill Req Tenant to Leave Premises out online here https://goo.gl/VSsXxI.

  • William Prince December 8, 2016, 8:17 pm

    You are a genius! I must agree, i would spend a couple grand than a frustrated sale. Its harder to get a sale than a couple grand.

  • Mike February 1, 2017, 8:17 pm

    Chris – I would like to list my property in 90 days. I have a tenant who is on a month to month lease. Can I give him a 90 day notice to vacate so that the listing starts with no tenant living in the property?

    • Chris February 1, 2017, 8:36 pm

      Short answer is no – you need an accepted (and I think unconditional) offer before you can give notice. Just listing for sale isn’t enough.

  • Heather February 17, 2017, 8:00 pm

    Hello, of our landlords is wanting to show the home we are renting and it is stated in the rental agreement that we have a dog in the property can they force us to have the dog not on the property when doing showings?

  • Cris March 5, 2017, 9:46 am

    Hi Chris, my landlord wants to sell. While my lease is up at the end of July (and I’ve given notice of wanting to move), my landlord wants to start showing the property in March. I’m not too excited by the prospect of having showings and disruptions for five months. Is there anything in the law that would help me limit the frequency of disruptions?

    • Chris March 8, 2017, 1:23 pm

      Not under the law that I can think of. If you have religious days of worship, you can notify your landlord in writing and those become no-show days.
      What you can do is hold your landlord accountable to the law, while trying to not be a pain. They’re required to do 24 hours written notice, not give unreasonable blanket notices etc as others have discussed. What I encourage is for you to discuss with them and get compensation for your awesome cooperation. Rent reductions, stuff like that – and help them pick days ahead of time where you’ll have it shiny and clean, so they can show while you’re at work, reducing the gong show. Maybe help them organize an open house or two – more showings in a short time, better chance of getting an offer.

  • Megan March 31, 2017, 10:31 pm

    So if signed a year lease and landlord or person taking care of the property like third person company calls gives you 24 hour notice for viewing and tells you they are selling … Would they have to wait out the year least or they can sell it out from under your feet or is this the 90 days? They don’t even have a sign up? Thank you

  • Jamie April 20, 2017, 10:06 am


    How many times a day can they request you to leave the property for showings? Currently a third party is selling our landlords home and she like to schedule twice a day.

  • T April 26, 2017, 6:19 pm

    Question if tenant isnt eeping the condo clean for showings what is the recourse? Also if tenant refuses to sign for photos what should we do? Finally can i send in cleaner to clean condo (wipe off walls vacum mop scrub toilets minor repairs replace about ? 6 light bulbs that are burnt out) as long as the tenants stuff isnt touched?

  • Chris June 1, 2017, 2:07 pm

    Hi Chris,

    We are currently renting a house (fixed term lease ending Aug 31) and the owner has put the house up for sale. I am been very accommodating with the pictures etc but the Realtor just put a For Sale sign on the front yard and I am not too fond of that. Do they have the “right” to put up a sign or can I refuse to allow it?


  • Lillian Howarth November 4, 2017, 3:05 am

    Hi, Chris
    I’m real estate agent myself thanks for sharing the details the agents, landlords and the tenants all can benefit from this post of yours.

  • Julie February 5, 2018, 6:35 pm

    Hi, we have rented our house to a ‘friend’ that has been residing in it for the past 6 months or so. Being that she was my friend we never signed a lease agreement-the idea was it would be month to month, she never paid a damage deposit, she is paying less than the amount of our mortgage by $300 and we pay the town bill and the power bill. (I know, I know, I’m an idiot!) I thought I was doing her a favor as she is a single mom and as I said, we are/were friends. We are renting a house in the town we live in now and the lease will be up in 5 months so we want to list our house, that is currently being rented to my friend, so it will be sold by the time our lease is up. We need to sell our house in order to be approved for a mortgage and get on with our lives. We told her that we planned to list the house in the next few months and she flipped out and said she couldn’t believe I was doing this to her, etc. etc. My question is, do we need to give 3 months notice before we list the house, or 3 months notice to vacate? Thanks in advance.

  • Kim February 9, 2018, 1:18 pm

    Wow Chris, what a nasty piece of work you are.
    As a renter, I read this article to glean an understand of what my rights are as a tenant in my current rental situation. I did not come here to be insulted and to read lines such as “I guess [renters are] much like toddlers.” There are many valid reasons why one may decide to rent but generally being a “toddler” isn’t one of them.
    As a renter, I am now forking out thousands of dollars monthly to be told that I must allow someone to enter my home at their own whim. On top of this inconvenience and breach of my privacy you would also like to throw in a fun little quip about “the mess that is reality for your tenant”. If your home is clean all the time I can only assume that it’s because your wife (or mom) takes care of this for you. Or, perhaps you are the emotionless robot that your writing makes you out to be.
    In conclusion, your article was so deeming and abrasive that I guess I will have to look elsewhere to find the information that I require.
    PS: I hope you never have to rent for any reason or you might have to get ff your high horse.

    • NL September 11, 2018, 10:44 pm

      and I hope I never have a tenant like you!

  • Edwina April 19, 2018, 5:43 pm

    This is an awesome site. I was once a renter, home owner, and now the landlord of my retirement condo. I am a very reasonable, easy going person and I will say that being a new landlord is no easy task. I am now on my second renter in my condo and it has been hell. There are some pretty nasty renters out there. I also run an Airbnb business and live in my Airbnb home. I have had over 100 guests from all over the world but mostly Calgary and Edmonton. All my guests long and short term ones have been amazing. Can’t wait to get rid of the present renters. No more renters for me. I can’t wait to sell the place but I am stuck until the 12 month lease is up. Going to pray that the renters win the lottery and move far far away 🙂 Until then, I am praying that I can maintain some sanity.

  • Renter June 3, 2018, 1:44 pm

    Thanks for referring to renters as toddlers. Nice and rude. You should go get yourself a lolly pop and enjoy your afternoon. Think about what your saying before you say it. You wouldn’t be a landlord with out tenets. We rent because we don’t want to be tied down to over inflated costs. Our current landlord is great. I have no desire to own. Just be a little more discerning with you choice of comparison. I’m not a toddler. I do love treats. Our landlord never misses a birthday. Wishing us well on our special days. He has given us cakes and flowers. An amazing man. If he were to refer to me as anything but an equal I would move out. Done.

    • NL September 11, 2018, 10:49 pm

      Maybe you need to educate ALL renters on how to be good renters. You do know that the majority of renters are nothing but trouble for landlords right?? I have seen it all. 1)No smoking on lease – clearly doesn’t mean THEM in their eyes. 2) no pets – means the same thing, 3) Rent due in FULL the first of the month – is also foreign to them, 4) but they know every trick in the book to avoid paying rent on time. 5) respect for landlords property means nothing – they have no respect for property because they have never EARNED the right to own property. In this sens YES many of them are Toddlers – well worse really. They all adult idiots.

      • Stevie W May 25, 2019, 4:01 pm

        Then don’t be a landlord, scumbag

        • ES November 6, 2019, 9:31 pm

          Wouldn’t offend me at all to be called a toddler if I had a great landlord. But I think both landlords and tenants are just as much to blame. Landlords are notoriously greedy and tenants are notoriously vulnerable and poor. Not too compatible.

      • Barb December 29, 2019, 5:38 pm

        I doubt what I have to say will influence you, but I’m copying you my response to another landlord (above) :
        I agree with Joani’s comment and sentiment completely, and find your statements most unattractive.
        I have been a tenant in my current residence for 6 years. My home and yard are well cared for, my rent is current ( I hand deliver days before the month’s end because it is the landlords preference not to have post dated cheque’s in case of loss), there has never been a complaint regarding my conduct, etc.
        I understand that many investors have negative experiences with tenants and sympathize with inconvenience and even financial loss that occurs when tenants do not honour their agreements nor care for personal property.
        That said, in my over two decades of property management experience, I had very few difficult tenants, and fewer incidents of financial loss for the property owners I represented.
        This was perhaps to some small degree to luck, but much more so do to due diligence in vetting prospects, a respectful and courteous manner in regarding ‘my’ tenants, and attentiveness and effort in management practices.
        Please do not paint all of your tenants with your previous bad experience.
        We are not substandard people because we do not own property, as well, we are not toddlers to be tricked or treated in anything less than a respectful manner unless we have demonstrated clearly that we personally do not warrant kind consideration. In fact, a bit of appreciation might be in order for paying rents which assist in the further accumulation of wealth for those that have been able to acquire investment property.”

        I will further add that there are tenants that may choose to rent for myriad reasons other than a lack of resources, and that a lack of resources does not mean a corresponding lack in character.

      • Barb December 29, 2019, 5:40 pm

        I doubt what I have to say will influence you, but I’m copying you my response to another landlord (above) :

        “I have been a tenant in my current residence for 6 years. My home and yard are well cared for, my rent is current ( I hand deliver days before the month’s end because it is the landlords preference not to have post dated cheque’s in case of loss), there has never been a complaint regarding my conduct, etc.
        I understand that many investors have negative experiences with tenants and sympathize with inconvenience and even financial loss that occurs when tenants do not honour their agreements nor care for personal property.
        That said, in my over two decades of property management experience, I had very few difficult tenants, and fewer incidents of financial loss for the property owners I represented.
        This was perhaps to some small degree to luck, but much more so do to due diligence in vetting prospects, a respectful and courteous manner in regarding ‘my’ tenants, and attentiveness and effort in management practices.
        Please do not paint all of your tenants with your previous bad experience.
        We are not substandard people because we do not own property, as well, we are not toddlers to be tricked or treated in anything less than a respectful manner unless we have demonstrated clearly that we personally do not warrant kind consideration. In fact, a bit of appreciation might be in order for paying rents which assist in the further accumulation of wealth for those that have been able to acquire investment property.”

        I will further add that there are tenants that may choose to rent for myriad reasons other than a lack of resources, and that a lack of resources does not mean a corresponding lack in character.

  • Edmund Berg October 28, 2018, 1:32 pm

    I have tenants who are now about 8000.00 in arrears. (1000.00/month)I’ve made it a condition they repay 500.00/ month plus the rent or get out. I have evicted them several times, then relented. My daughter (the tenant) has limited income and her boyfriend refuses to keep a job. A friend of theirs has moved in and is paying the lions share, but is getting tired of the chaos. They have become hoarders and refuse to keep the yard or house tidy. I want to sell but it’s hard to get in to do the renos needed since a lot of improvements I’ve done to get the best price are tampered with or damaged. I have exhausted my savings, I’m never sure of getting the full rent, and can’t deal with it anymore. I just want to get a decent price and enjoy retirement. You’ve guessed by now this is more than a landlord/tenant issue but I’m getting no cooperation from them and would appreciate your feedback since I’m feeling completely and utterly stuck.

    • Chris April 3, 2019, 9:46 am

      Ed, sorry for the belated public reply, but I hope you’ve resolved the issues now. In my opinion, hoarders commit significant harm to the property which is a substantial breach of the lease. They also often prevent you from getting in to perform necessary maintenance, which is also a breach. Without knowing the rest of the details I’d generally say evict them, do what you can for renos and sell it. Even a vacant unit will sell better than an occupied hoarder house.

      That said, hoarding is a symptom of a serious mental illness and one that’s difficult to treat and massively misunderstood. Proceed with caution and compassion.

  • Faye March 30, 2019, 9:22 pm

    Hi Chris, can my landlord require me to not be at home during showings of the house? I’ve been more than accommodating and the realtor has on several occasion given me much less than 24 hrs notice but is now saying me and my kids being home is distracting for potential buyers. I want to work with my landlord and the realtors but I’m a stay at home mom with very small children and having to pack the three of them up multiple times a week sometimes late in the evening seems unreasonable to me.

    • Chris April 3, 2019, 9:41 am

      The short answer is no. They can’t force you to leave for showings.

      The longer answer is sometimes it’s short term pain for long term gain but it depends on what you want and expect to happen. However I’m about to sell one of my properties and the tenants have kids – we’ll make buyers do the full 24 hour notice and realize that people will possibly be in the property even if that results in lower/fewer offers.

      If it’s coming from you, then it’s not a bad idea to help facilitate an open house or help the listing agent know when you’ll be out of the house regularly so they have a window they can aim for. Also, if you’re likely going to have to move when it sells it’s not wrong to have a discussion with the landlord about some compensation for the coming and going – they’ll hopefully be making a buck when they sell and a little bit to you to help facilitate the process is money well spent in my book.

  • Amanda Boser May 16, 2019, 11:08 pm

    Just an FYI I am a renter, and also was property owner multiple times and landlord with many years experience in property management. Many things you say may be setting up agents for failure especially with your comment about leaving multiple dates for the notice to enter. I am not insinuating this is a lack of knowledge on your part by any means, but you could say, “clear as mud” and there will always be someone who takes it literally thinking there is clear mud. Ex. Delivering a notice for entry on the dates Monday, Wednesday & Thursday… legally a notice to enter can only be for one day only. You can service all notices on the same day but… legally there must be three separate notices. Also, a 24 hour notice to enter cannot be for a date any longer than 30 days in the future. I know this may be tedious and a waste of time to make three pieces of paper, BUT in the end, it could save you from any legal proceedings from a pissed of tenant looking for any reason to get back at the landlord. Also, you stated that leaving a notice gives them (tenant) no option but to allow you(landlords agent) to enter. This is also not true, the tenant has the right to enjoy their premises and also has the right to privacy and if continuous showings are getting in the way of the tenants right to enjoy the premises then the landlord/agent is actually at risk of breaching the agreement. One more thing to remember about notice to enter, you stated the hours and days permitted to enter which were mostly right but you missed one day. A landlord or agent may enter from Monday-Saturday during the times 8AM-8PM. The time of entry must be stated on the notice with a REASONABLE duration of time. There is no entry allowed unless permission is granted on Sundays ( or any other day of worship) and holidays!!!! Also on that note, a tenant cannot get in the way of the landlords rights either. And its the landlords right to sell the premises or re-rent it. They also have to keep the premises in a cleanly state, but that can differ from a landlord trying to sell their premises and the tenant who may be a single mom of 2 kids working 2 jobs. Also, I see this one often…. animals MUST be contained or confined to a space where they are out of the way during any entry by landlord or agent. YES even if you are against kenneling your dog, you may have to if that is the only way to confine the animal when you are not home. OR be home during the showing to ensure the animal is not a risk to anyone entering the premises. I have had both shitty landlords and shitty renters… Working in property management about 80% of cases that went to court were due to a real estate agent or an agent of the landlord of some sort not following the RTA or PIPA. Which, I believe is due to the fact that its a whole different set of rules and regulations for real estate agents. I have had experiences of all types and recently more with the “shitty type” Most recently my landlord has put their house for sale and the real estate agent put “IMMEDIATE POSSESSION” in the ad as well as various pictures containing personal information of mine in the back round, which I did not give consent to and never would. Well, having immediate possession on the ad has now confirmed the landlord harassment case of trying to force me (tenant) out by two illegal notices to terminate the tenancy, followed by a notice of raising the rent by over $600 when they realized the termination was invalid, claiming to not receive rent e-transfer, only to accept the transfer the day after an invalid eviction notice was posted.

    I think the moral is for everyone to respect everyone’s rights. Communication is key. If my landlords came to me and wanted to sell the house vacant and tried to talk with me offering me an incentive I would’ve been more than happy to comply. The sad thing is if I didn’t have the experience or education I do, I may have thought my landlord was in the right.

    For all of the people on here that are saying negative things about tenants …. there are just as many SLUM lords as there are shitty tenants. I truly believe that before anyone is allowed to be a landlord they are to take the Residential tenancies in Alberta course (or whatever province they are in) I also believe this should be addressed in Highschool.

    Just some food for thought

  • Lisa May 26, 2019, 1:23 pm

    My landlord gave my husband and I notce on may 6th to vacate july 31 as she is putting the house up for sale. I know that notice is supposed to be given on the 1st or before. I have no problem with viewings. As we are currently in the process of buying ourselves, I have been packing. There are packed boxes stacked in every room. The realtor told me I would have to move them for photos. Do I have to do this? There is no room anywhere to put them. Also, I work nights and don’t get home until 7 am. I would like to atleast get a few hours of sleep before my next shift, can the realtor just show up? I told her I’d like 24 hrs notice, but still the night shifts are going to be a problem.

  • Lisa August 19, 2019, 12:52 pm

    Hi Chris, I’m looking to sell my rental house and the yearly lease is about to expire. Do we need to resign a monthly one that includes clauses for sale of the house prior to listing it? Or can I list it regardless and how much notice will I need to give my tenants prior to listing?

  • Kim February 24, 2020, 8:53 am

    If I own and a property and have a one year lease and have really amazing tenants who do not want me to sell or they state they would look elsewhere and move, can I put it up for sale and can they break our contract?
    I have asked them to sell as a rental property only but they feel they would like to move. ( I don’t blame them as I would want stability as well).
    What are my options as I lose money every month and am wanting to plan for retirement.

    • Chris June 17, 2021, 10:26 am

      In Alberta you can’t break a fixed term lease. That’s about the long and short of it. Other provinces are even more restrictive.

  • Lisa Laprade July 18, 2020, 10:26 pm

    I am a small property manager, and a renter in my own right. I have tenants in the upper suite of a bi-level home. The lower level suite is vacant. We are showing the lower suite and have no obligation to give the upper suite any notice. We are not entering their suite. That said, the upper suite tenants are clearly trying to sabotage our showings by stomping very loudly in the unit above when they hear us below. It is so apparent, that the prospective tenants have commented, and of course we haven’t seen them again. The upper suite tenants lease is up Sept 30.
    We had a disrespectful tenant in the lower suite who has since moved out (another story), and have tried to make peace with the upper tenants who remain. We have given them access to the fenced yard and garage for no extra charge while the lower suite is vacant. They are now effecting our ability to rent and put new tenants in. What is our course of action? We need tenants in for Aug 1.
    I am very frustrated and want to know how best to approach the situation.

    • Chris June 17, 2021, 10:24 am

      Personally, in Alberta, I’d have a direct and honest conversation with them. If they’re trying to sabotage you renting out the lower unit, tell them clearly now that you’re not goign to renew their lease. Full stop. I’d also take back the garage so that helps to end the incentive for them to block you renting. It’s a tough situation.

  • Colleen September 4, 2020, 11:57 am

    I have a question for tenants. Our landlord is in the process of listing the house we rent. They are coming in to take photos to be posted with the sale add. I already plan on taking down all family photos but have alot of expensive personal items in the garage and through the house that are not easily removable. We have very high crime rates in our city with alot of home break ins. Am I in my right to refuse interior photos, or evan to request our personal items be edited out? I’m quite worried to have the house sale be an add for criminals
    Thank you!

    • Chris June 17, 2021, 10:22 am

      Hi Colleen, your rights depend on the province, however a discussion with the landlord about minimizing what of your belongings show in the photos is very fair. Editing the photos is a great idea. It’s also a great reminder that all tenants should have renters insurance and make sure that anything really valuable (for $ or sentimental reasons) should potentially have it’s own insurance.

  • Ida June 15, 2021, 5:21 pm

    I’m a landlord. This is the 3rd year rental for my tenants.
    He has been months not paying then catches up. On contract 2 dogs no cats. 3 dogs 3 cats. I’m allergic to them.
    Remember although it’s rented it’s my personal home as out of province due to family illness.
    The house was rented for a year. Boy the sob stories delays we got over them. She smokes weed outside. I’m allergic to it and said no smoking unless outside but there was no comment about weed.
    2 year renewal. We’ll now they are down to 9 months. In the last 2 years he has not paid any town bills which he knows he is responsible for.

    He feels because over the last 4 to 6 months the rent is on time he has not broken any agreement.
    The $1400 is now owned to the tiwn gone onto towns taxes.
    He still owes half a months rent for DD. As well as half a month’s rent from last July.

    I cannot afford to pay where I live and keep paying his extras.
    He tells me if his wife grandkids his mother need money they come before me. I will have to wait.
    I’ve kept my cool. Kept polite but enough is enough.
    I’ve decided to sell the property, I know he will be mad as he wants to buy it but he told me what he’s paying for it.
    Their lease is over in 9 months. Can I give him notice to leave? If the house sells before does that break the contract with me and the and then the new owners give them notice.
    Appreciate any advice as I can’t handle the shouting and bad language he acts on the phone

    • Chris June 17, 2021, 10:20 am

      Ida, is the home in Alberta? Landlord laws vary widely by province.
      First, you don’t have to listen to verbal abuse by someone else. Hang up the phone and correspond by letter if need be. If the lease specifies that they’re responsible for the utilities and he’s not paying them, that’s (in my opinion) a substantial breach and you can evict them.
      Most important right now – you can not change a fixed term lease. That means a purchaser has to honour the terms of the lease. Then again, it’s also to reach an agreement with the tenant to help them move out early, often known as cash for keys.

  • Sherry July 2, 2021, 9:44 pm

    Hi Chris
    I am currently a renter and the landlord has recently put the place on the market, there has been 4 showings so far and I have been out of the place during all, I have a pet, and have asked them to put on the listing certain things I would like done once the showing is complete, and they put those in the listing, as well I have a sign posted with the same, All 4 Times that it has been shown something was missed that was stipulated in both the listing and on the sign. My question is can I now going forward stay in my place during the showing or do I have to leave? I rent in Alberta

    • Chris July 6, 2021, 9:04 am

      You can stay. There’s nothing in the act that compels you to be gone for showings. That said, cooperation between a tenant and landlord is huge.

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