First, thanks to Chris for allowing me a guest post. I am a fellow Real Estate investor and spent seven years with REIN, so I really appreciate many of his insights in his posts.
This particular post is actually in regards to a post by Brian Persaud quite a few months ago in regards to Problem Tenants in Ontario. Its reading information like Brian’s, that really make me appreciate owning properties in Alberta. Similar to Ontario, making the wrong move with a problem tenant can be costly and can quickly evolve into even more lost money and extra stress.
Fortunately, for Alberta landlords though, there are some great laws and systems in place to make landlording considerably easier than most other provinces, in my opinion anyway. Two of the biggest positives for landlords here in Alberta are security deposits and a system for resolving landlord/tenant issues called the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service or RTDRS for short.
As a landlord, security deposits are a vastly superior option than tenants paying first and last month’s rent as they do in Ontario. Security deposits can be used to cover cleaning costs after tenants leave, or to repair any damages that tenants may have caused to the property. With the tenant understanding their deposit could be partially withheld it can work as a tremendous incentive for tenants to leave the properties in the same condition as they initially rented the premises.
In Ontario, any repairs or cleaning have to be added to the last month’s rent. This now puts the pressure on the landlord to try and collect additional funds from tenants. This can become an even more time consuming adventure than actually evicting a tenant in some cases. Of course, there are landlords who abuse security deposits as well, which bring us to my other favourite item about being a landlord in Alberta.
This is the RTDRS, which was introduced in Alberta around 2008. The RTDRS is a system designed to streamline the process of settling landlord and tenant disputes through the courts. This service allows landlords, and tenants, to bring their disputes to a less formal resolution using court appointed hearing officers. These hearing officers have the ability to make legally binding decisions regarding almost everything under the Residential Tenancy Act in Alberta.
This can range from setting eviction dates for tenants who have breached their lease agreement, to helping tenants recoup improperly withheld security deposits from landlords. All of this for just a $75 filing fee and in a much timelier fashion than the old very formal court system. Many hearings can even be arranged within about seven to ten days after the filings occur, which can shave days and weeks off the original process.
This simple system manages to work for both sides. Now there does seems to be a slight bias towards preventing tenants from being put out on the street, which no one really wants, but overall it’s still a very fair and impartial system that should be a model for many of the other provinces.
Ed Note: Bill Biko has been investing in Real Estate since 2003 and has become an expert at evictions due to his experiences owning multiple rooming houses. He can be found at www.AlbertaEviction.com and www.Investors.Housez.ca.
The RTDRS sounds like a dream compared to Ontario’s LTB. It sounds like it operates in a much more fair and efficient manner and that Ontario could learn a couple lessons from our neighbours to the West.