Renting in a Student Residence

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Renting in a Student Residence

Renting a Student Residence Not Covered by the Residential Tenancies Act

Renting at the University of Alberta

Security Deposit

Rent

Rules

University Staff Entering the Unit

Repairs

Accountability of the University

Room Assignment 

Moving Out

Laws that Still Offer Protection

Where can I get help or more information?

 

 

RENTING IN A STUDENT RESIDENCE 

 

This page discusses your rights and responsibilities when you are renting in a student residence. If you are renting a student dormitory your landlord is the educational institution that you are attending (for example, the University of Alberta) and you are the tenant. 

 

For the most part, the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) offers protection to persons renting a place to live in Alberta. The RTA sets out rules for eviction (getting kicked out), the payment of rent, security deposits, repairs, and more. Many of these rules apply regardless of what the landlord and tenant may have agreed to (for example, what is written in the lease/ Rental Agreement). However, the RTA does not apply to all rental units. 

 

The RTA does not apply to a student renting a residence unit from their educational institution unless the student has exclusive possession of a self-contained unit. This means that the rights and responsibilities of both the student & their school are set out in the lease/ Rental Agreement, and there is no protection offered by the RTA.  

 

If you are renting one of the following University of Alberta residence units the RTA does not apply to your relationship with the landlord/university:

 

Any unit in Lister Hall ✗

Any unit in International House ✗

Any unit in Pinecrest House ✗

Any unit in Schaffer Hall ✗

Any unit in Tamarack House ✗

Two bedroom apartment in Graduate Residence ✗

Two or four bedroom apartment in East Campus Village ✗

Two or four bedroom apartment in HUB ✗

 

*This pamphlet is designed to cover your rental situation. Be cautious when looking at information about renting: many resources discuss situations covered by the RTA, where a tenant generally has more protections.  

 

If you are renting one of the following University of Alberta residence units the RTA does apply to your relationship with the landlord/university:

 

Any unit in Michener Park ✓   

Any unit in Newton Place ✓

Studio apartment in Graduate Residence ✓

One bedroom apartment in East Campus Village ✓

Studio or one bedroom apartment in HUB ✓

 

*Since the RTA applies to your rental unit, please see our “Landlord and Tenant” page.

 

If you are unsure whether the RTA applies to your rental situation, you can contact Service Alberta’s Consumer Contact Centre toll free at 1-877-427-4088.

 

RENTING A STUDENT RESIDENCE NOT COVERED BY THE RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT

 

If you are living in a student dormitory not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), the rules you and your landlord (the University) must follow regarding topics such as rent, eviction (getting kicked out), security deposits, and repairs will be set out according to the contracts/agreements you have entered into. These are generally a standard format for all student tenants. You may have agreed to them by your signature, by clicking an “I accept” button online, or by verbal discussions. If you are renting at the University of Alberta, these details are described in the “Renting at the University of Alberta” section.

 

This does not mean that there are no laws protecting you as a student tenant/renter. The contracts/agreements you enter into with your school must follow the general law of contracts in Alberta, and aspects of your stay are covered by laws discussed in the “Laws that Still Offer Protection” section below (for example, laws protecting your privacy, human rights, and health and safety). 

 

RENTING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA

 

At the University of Alberta (UofA) the following contracts/agreements set out your rights and responsibilities as a tenant/renter:

 

1. Residence Agreement / Lease

http://www.residence.ualberta.ca/CurrentResidents/CommunityStandardqs/ResidenceAgreement.aspx

 

2. Residence Community Standards

http://www.governance.ualberta.ca/en/CodesofConductandResidenceCommunityStandards/ResidenceCommunityStandards.aspx

 

3. Residence-specific House Rules

http://www.residence.ualberta.ca/CurrentResidents/CommunityStandards/HouseRules.aspx

 

4. Code of Student Behaviour 

http://www.governance.ualberta.ca/en/CodesofConductandResidenceCommunityStandards/CodeofStudentBehaviour.aspx

 

These contracts you entered into with the University of Alberta (UofA) as your landlord outline the following details in regards to:

 

I. Security deposits

II. Rent

III. Rules

IV. University staff entering your unit

V. Repairs

VI. Accountability of the University

VII. Room assignment, and 

VIII. Moving out (either by your term ending, leaving, or being asked to leave). 

 

I. Security Deposits

 

A security deposit is the money you pay to the UofA when you move in, with the understanding that it will be given back when you move out if the unit is clean, undamaged, and all fees are paid. 

 

You are required to conduct and submit a unit condition report (UCR) within a week of moving in. This is a report that describes the condition of the unit, including any damage, wear, or tear to the room, furniture, or appliances. When moving out, the condition of the unit is compared to the description in the original UCR to determine if there has been any damage to the unit, and if any money needs to be deducted from the security deposit. There is a late UCR fee if the UCR is submitted after the first week.

 

The UofA can keep part, or all, of a security deposit for: 

Damage to the unit (room, furniture, or appliances)

Damage to the residence where it cannot be determined who caused the damage. All students on a unit, floor, wing, or building will then be charged equally.

Cleaning 

Unpaid fees, including:

o Rent

o Residence association fees

o Insufficient funds charges

o Phone, internet, or garbage removal fees

o Late vacate charges

o Prox card replacement fees

o Lister meal plan charges 

 

 

II. Rent

 

Rent is the money paid for the use of the residence unit. Depending on which dorm you are renting, the different utilities (gas, water, electrical, cable, telephone, and internet fees) may be included in rent, or may be paid separately. 

 

If rent is not paid on or before the 1st day of the calendar month, there will be a late payment fee and the rent owed will start to collect interest at a rate of 1.5%/month. The UofA can also evict (kick out) a student for failing to pay rent. 

 

Units that are rented with a month-month rental agreement can have the rent increased, but the UofA is required to give you 3 months notice before doing so. 

 

III. Rules 

 

Students must follow the rules set out by the UofA in the Rental Agreement, Residence Community Standards, House Rules, and Code of Student Behaviour. If the rules are not followed the University may impose various sanctions, including evicting you (kicking you out) from your residence dorm. 

 

When you have potentially broken a rule that does not relate to non-payment of fees, or to the safety and security of a residence, the UofA has committed to addressing the incident through restorative justice. This means that University staff will first try to resolve the issue through group discussions with the student and the persons their actions affected. They will attempt to come up with a plan of action you will follow as a consequence, and to ensure the residence community is safe, secure, and healthy. 

 

Some of the important rules set out in the UofA Rental Agreement are:

 

No illegal acts (such as drinking under age, illegal drug use, fist fights, etc.)

No flammable substances, including candles and incense

No firearms, weapons, or illegal drug paraphernalia (items associated with illegal drugs, such as pipes, bongs, vapourizers, needles, etc.)

No animals

No smoking in the unit or common areas

No overnight guests in a two person room

Visitors must be reported and cannot stay for longer than 10-14 days in a 4 month period (depending on the dorm you are renting)

Students must have general liability insurance and adequate insurance for their own personal property

The unit must be kept clean and tidy

Quiet hours must be followed

The landlord/university must be notified if:

o The student will be gone for over a week

o The renter has lost their status as a student (has dropped out of a term, or faced academic discipline) 

o The unit needs repairs

o The unit has mice, bedbugs, cockroaches, ants, or other pests 

All residents are to be treated with respect 

 

IV. University Staff Entering The Unit 

 

UofA staff can only enter your unit if:

You have given them permission

There is a potential emergency (for example: smoke coming out from under the door, you have not been seen for a number of days, etc)

They are doing repair work you requested 

You are moving out the next month and they are showing the unit to a potential renter 

They have given you 24 hours notice 

 

V. Repairs

 

You must pay for any repairs the residence unit requires that were created by damage above ordinary wear and tear.

 

If the UofA cannot determine who damaged the premises, all students on the unit, floor, wing, building, or residence will be charged equally. 

VI. Accountability of the University 

 

1. The Residence Agreement/ Lease has a waiver contained within it. It states that you agree not to hold the UofA or its employees responsible for any damage, injury, or death to you, your property, or your guests. This includes damage, injury, or death resulting from intentional misconduct, negligence, and neglect on the part of University employees, agents, and contractors. 

 

2. The Residence Agreement / Lease also has an indemnification contained within it. It states that you agree to pay for any costs the UofA may have to pay (for example, the costs of a lawsuit) as a result of you, or your guest(s), breaking a rule, using University property, or damaging University property.  

 

If you do not agree with this waiver or indemnification, it is important to know that your signature will indicate that you do. If you would like more information about what these terms mean for you as a student, or what your options may be if you do not agree, please contact:

 

University of Alberta Student Ombudservice 

Website: http://www.ombudservice.ualberta.ca/

Location: 5-02 Student’s Union Building (SUB)

Phone: (780) 492-4689 

 

Student Legal Services Civil Office

Website: http://www.slsedmonton.com/civil/

Location: Emily Murphy House (East of the University by Graduate Residence)

Phone: (780) 492-8244 

 

As with any waiver, it may not prevent legal action. If you would like to sue the University or its employees, legal assistance is recommended. 

 

VII. Room Assignment 

 

The UofA can re-assign rooms for any reason they think is appropriate. If you are not there on move-in day, and have not informed Residence Services, you may lose your room reservation. 

 

VIII. Moving Out 

 

The length of time you spend renting from the UofA (your term) may end at an agreed upon date stated in the Rental Agreement / Lease, or you may wish to leave (to terminate your lease), or the University may ask you to leave (you may get evicted). 

 

1. Rental Period Ends

 

If you’re renting in Lister Centre, International House, or Residence Saint-Jean, your term is likely for the 8 month academic year and ends either 24 hours after your last exam, or at 12:00 noon on the end date in your confirmation letter, whichever comes first. 

 

 

If you are renting elsewhere, note 3 in your Rental Agreement will either: 

 

a) have a specified end date, making it a fixed term lease. Your term will end at 12:00 noon on that date, unless you or the University wishes to end the term early, or

 

b) continue on a month-month basis while you maintain student status, making it a month-month lease. Your term will only end upon notice from yourself (termination), or the University (eviction).  

 

2. Termination: Deciding to Leave 

 

If you’re renting in Lister Centre, International House, or Residence Saint-Jean, and want to leave before your term ends, you must fill out the “Notice to Vacate” form at least 30 days before you intend to leave. You will still be charged rent for the full term of your Residence Agreement (the 8 month academic term). 

If you are renting elsewhere and want to leave, how you do so depends on whether note 3 in your Rental Agreement states you are renting for a fixed term, or month-month. 

 

a) Fixed term: 

You must give 3 calendar months written notice before your intended move-out date

You will be required to pay a fee equal to one month’s rent

If the University cannot re-rent your unit to another person after you leave, you will be required to pay all the rent owed for the original fixed term

 

b) Month-month: 

You must submit a “Notice to Vacate” form on or before the first day of the calendar month you want to be your last month

If you submit a “Notice to Vacate” form less than a calendar month before you move out, you will be charged a fee equal to one month’s rent 

 

3. Eviction: Getting Kicked Out

 

The UofA has the power to ask you to leave your student residence and find alternative housing. This is called eviction (kicking you out). They must inform you in writing if they are evicting you, and can evict you for any of the following reasons:

 

You have not followed the rules (see the “Rules” section above)

You have failed to pay rent, residence association fees, insufficient fund charges, internet charges, phone charges, garbage removal fees, furniture replacement costs, late vacate charges, key/lock change fees, prox card replacement fees, Lister meal plan charges, or other University fees.

You no longer have student status at the University of Alberta 

The University intends to do major renovations and your unit must be unoccupied

The University intends to use the unit for non-residential purposes

The University intends to demolish the residence

You have broken any contract/agreement with the University 

 

The UofA may evict you immediately if you are too loud during final exam quite hours, you are seen as a threat to safety in the residence, you vandalize or damage property, you assault another person, or for other reasons. 

 

If you would like assistance understanding any of these rules / agreements, or you are concerned either you or a representative of the University have not been following them, please contact:

 

U of A Student Ombudservice 

Website: http://www.ombudservice.ualberta.ca/

Location: 5-02 Student’s Union Building (SUB)

Phone: (780) 492-4689 

 

Student Legal Services Civil Office

Website: http://www.slsedmonton.com/civil/

Location: Emily Murphy House (East of the University by Graduate Residence)

Phone: (780) 492-8244 

 

LAWS THAT STILL OFFER PROTECTION 

 

There are many Alberta laws to protect you regardless of where you are renting. These laws may apply to your situation even if they do not exclusively deal with renting a living space. 

 

1. Public Health Act 

 

This Act sets out minimum safety and sanitation standards for rented housing. It covers topics such as minimum acceptable indoor temperatures, insect infestations, and plumbing. 

 

If you would like more information about the standards or have concerns about the safety or sanitation of your rented space, please contact: 

 

Alberta Health Services HealthLink

1-866-408-5465 or 780-408-5465

 

2. Personal Information Protection Act 

 

This Act is designed to protect your privacy. It requires your landlord (the University) to have your permission before collecting, using, or sharing your personal information. 

 

If you would like more information, or have concerns about the handling of your personal information, please contact: 

 

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta

1-888-878-4044

 

3. Alberta Human Rights Act 

 

This Act is designed to protect you from discrimination. The University cannot refuse to rent you a self-contained space in residence based on your: 

Race, religious beliefs, gender, physical or mental disability, source of income, ancestry, or sexual orientation 

 

If you would like more information, or feel you have been discriminated against, please contact:

 

Alberta Human Rights Commission 

Confidential Inquiry Line: 780-427-7661

 

WHERE CAN I GET HELP OR MORE INFORMATION?

 

University of Alberta Residence Services 

 

Website: http://www.residence.ualberta.ca/ 

 

Phone numbers for each residence listed at: http://www.residence.ualberta.ca/ContactUs.aspx

 

Residence Agreement: 

http://www.residence.ualberta.ca/CurrentResidents/CommunityStandardqs/ResidenceAgreement.aspx

 

Residence Community Standards:

http://www.governance.ualberta.ca/en/CodesofConductandResidenceCommunityStandards/ResidenceCommunityStandards.aspx

 

House Rules:

http://www.residence.ualberta.ca/CurrentResidents/CommunityStandards/HouseRules.aspx

 

Student Code of Conduct: 

http://www.governance.ualberta.ca/en/CodesofConductandResidenceCommunityStandards/CodeofStudentBehaviour.aspx

 

 University of Alberta Student Ombudservice………………………………………….780-492-4689

Website: http://www.ombudservice.ualberta.ca/

Location: 5-02 Student’s Union Building (SUB)

Confidential information, advice, and support for students dealing with academic, discipline, interpersonal, and financial issues related to student programs. 

 

 Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board …………………………………………………..780-496-5959

Website: http://www.edmonton.ca/for_residents/programs/landlord-and-tenant-advisory-board.aspx

Advice and information for both tenants and landlords to address tenancy issues and ensure everyone knows their rights and obligations. 

 

Student Legal Services Civil Office ……………………………………………………...780-492-8244

 Website: http://www.slsedmonton.com/civil/

Location: Emily Murphy House (East of the University by Graduate Residence)

Law students able to provide legal assistance, information, and referrals. 

 

Edmonton Community Legal Centre …………………………………………………….780-702-1725

Website: www.eclc.ca

Legal information, presentations, and evening legal clinics with a lawyer to provide 30-45min of legal advice if you meet their income guidelines. 

 

Lawyer Referral Service …………………………………………………………………1-800-661-1095

Website: http://www.lawsociety.ab.ca/public/lawyer_referral.aspx

Contact information for 3 lawyers who may be able to take your case (most likely for a fee)

 

Civil Claims Duty Counsel

Room 262 in the Edmonton Courthouse: 1A Sir Winston Churchill Square

Website: http://www.pbla.ca/projects/item.3356Civil_Claims_Duty_Counsel_Project_Edmonton

Hours: 

Tuesday: 10:00am – 2:00pm

Wednesday: 12:00noon– 4:00pm

Thursday: 9:00am - 4:00pm 

Free advice on civil law matters from a lawyers for 30-45min on a first come first serve basis 

 

Alberta Health Services HealthLink ……………………………………………………..780-408-5465

Website: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/223.asp

Advice and information about health concerns, including concerns about the heath and sanitation of a rental suite 

 

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta ………………………………...1-888-878-4044

Website: www.oipc.ab.ca

Information about the law surrounding the handling of your private, personal information

 

Alberta Human Rights Commission Confidential Inquiry Line:……………………….780-427-7661

Website: http://www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca/

Assistance and information regarding human rights and discrimination in Alberta 

 

**If you need assistance with emergency shelter or any other resources please dial 211 to speak to a live referral operator familiar with the services and resources in Edmonton, or visit: http://www.211edmonton.com/