10/20/2009

Worried for Nothing?

I was pretty worried about things settling down around the house & with the landlord when I wrote the last two posts, I'm pleased to say that I took some of your advise combined with Jordan's/Mom's and am calmer for it.

I called Service Canada and spoke to a representative about the Alberta Residential Tenancy Act.  As it turns out once an annual lease is over, if a new lease is not agreed upon, it automatically turns into a month-to-month agreement (or a periodic lease).  I have signed three leases with my landlord, each with a rent increase.  I learned that my landlord was SUPPOSED to give me (and my roommates at that time) 90 days notice.  That means, that over the last three years - I have 'overpaid' $825 (total, that amount would have been split by the number of roommates at the time).

I also learned (though I had suspected it) that because Landlord has been in the unit 2x a year for the last three years (to change the furnace filters) and has seen our fish tanks - she cannot add that to the lease.  She can not require us to get rid of the tanks!

If she wants to get rid of us, she has to provide a VALID reason.  Valid being major renovations (which would require 365 days notice even with periodic tenancy) or wanted the space for family (which would require 90 days notice even with periodic tenancy).  I'm feeling sooo much better about all of this.  I should have called weeks ago.

The only benefit with pushing Landlord to negotiate with us would be to secure a rental decrease.

So, I think, the plan now is to wait until the end of the month - and if she hasn't written/called - we will drop off a rent cheque for November.

Do you think we should pursue a decrease to the rent, or just accept that we are in a month-to-month now and she's not going to budge on the $1,500 (I think the market is closer to $1350-$1400)?

Added to that positive news, Jeff - (new roommate), is happy to start moving in sometime during the last week of October - I have now only to try to make sure Samantha (old roommate) as actually out of the house by this Saturday, October 24th (which she said she would be).

I think it might actually all be okay.
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8 comments:

  1. Being that I don't like to be confrontation unless it is REALLY important I probably would just do nothing at this point and assume a month-to-month.

    If you think there is a HIGH likelihood of a decrease then it would be worth it, but if you think it won't happen or is unlikely to happen then I would just let it be. It is better to be in a month to month lease paying $1500/month than a term lease paying $1500/month. That wait you can just leave with a 30 or 45 day notice if you have to for whatever reason.

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  2. SS4BC mkes a good point about being able to leave whenever you want, rather than be locked in to a lease. If Isabelle finds this winter very difficult, she could make decisions quicker than you are expecting. You could let it ride for a while.

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  3. And that's why you read the fine print and know the laws... right? ;)

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  4. that's why it's always good to know what the experts say!

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  5. Personally a month to month is a much more convenient situation for you in the long run. You still have to give notice appropriately but you are not breaking contract early if you decide in a few months you want out.

    In my experience, rental decreases are a hard thing to come by. What you perhaps should go after is a clause that states she will not raise your rent for the next [blank] years, and that when the raise comes it is only 4% of the current rent you are paying. This may be a better way to go. Though I don't know what your regulations state where you are. At least then you can have an agreement in place that would show this and you would know what the increase would be when it comes.

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  6. Hello Jessie,

    Well done at looking at the rules. But the best way to get a rental decrease is to move. maybe to a smaller apartment as well so that you don't have to worry about needing a roommate.

    This knowledge also adds to your bargaining position.

    regards,

    Jason

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  7. The lawyer in me is very happy that you got all that information. I'm sorry I'm in Ontario so I couldn't help you out with it. It all sounds very similar to Ontario law though. I would check into the regulations about raising rent - usually they can only raise it a small amount each year.

    You probably are better as said above to stick with month to month, even if your landlord tries to push you into a year lease. It means if something doesn't work out with your new roommate or you decide to move for some other reason, you won't be breaking a lease and less notice will probably be required.

    As for going for a decrease, if you've been paying $1500 all along it's unlikely your landlord will go for decreasing that, no matter what the market is, because it would be hard for her to increase it later if the regulations restrict the amount of increase allowed each year.

    I know Ontario has a super helpful residential tenancies website - try googling something like "alberta landlord tenant board" and you might find something.

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  8. In Alberta a landlord can raise the rent once per year and unfortunately by any amount they want. I wouldn't pursue the lower rent because I highly doubt it will happen.

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