Human Rights in Alberta: Tips for renters
The Alberta Human Rights Act helps protect you against discrimination when you rent a place. Do you think that you are being discriminated against? Here are some tips:
1. Is it discrimination? You can ask a human rights officer.
The Alberta Human Rights Act protects you in the area of tenancy under these grounds:
- where you were born
- religious beliefs
- physical disability
- mental disability
- marital status
- family status
- source of income
- sexual orientation
- gender identity
- gender expression
Are you being discriminated against? If you are not sure, you can talk to a human rights officer. Calling an officer is free and confidential.
To contact a human rights officer, visit: www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca.
What if it is not discrimination?
Sometimes bad behavior is not discrimination under the Alberta Human Rights Act. For example: a landlord refuses to return your security deposit but will not tell you why. Keeping your security deposit without telling you why is not allowed under the Residential Tenancies Act.
There are organizations that can help you address the bad behaviour. To learn more about your options, read If you have a problem while renting.
2. Plan ahead. Take someone with you.
Take a trusted friend or relative with you when you look at places for rent.
If you are discriminated against, this person can be a witness. A witness can give evidence if you file a human rights complaint.
3. Write down what happens
Is a landlord discriminating against you? Write down what they do and say to you. Include:
- names of witnesses
- what happened
- what each person said
Make sure you stick to the facts. Then, you can decide what to do. You might decide to file a human rights complaint.
4. Keep copies of letters, emails, or other communication
Is your landlord harassing you with letters, text messages, emails, or voicemails? Keep copies. You may need them if you decide to file a human rights complaint.
5. Know your rights
Do you know that you are protected by more than one law when renting? It is important to know how the laws protect you when renting. For example, the Residential Tenancies Act tells landlords and tenants about their rights and responsibilities.
Do you want to know more about renting laws in Alberta? For more information, visit: www.landlordandtenant.org
You should not rely on this article for legal advice. It provides general information on Alberta law only.
Funding for this article was provided by the Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund.
For more information on human rights, visit: http://www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca/
Published May 2016. Copyright Legal Resource Centre of Alberta Ltd.