Alberta Renting 101

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Renting can be a real thrill—especially for first timers. This may be the first time you’ll be living on your own. Without someone to help and guide you along the way, the renting process can be a bit confusing to navigate if you haven’t experienced it before. Don’t worry, though. We’re here to help!

Need to Know Information About Security Deposits

Once you’ve found a new place to call home, you’ll be required to give your landlord a security deposit also known as a damage deposit. A security deposit is paid only once and is worth one month’s rent. The landlord keeps that money and returns it to you when you move out, assuming you’ve met the conditions. Your landlord will not return your security deposit or may only give you a portion of it back if you still owe them rent money, if you owe a fee, or if you failed to return the keys.

Landlords can also deduct excessive damages from your security deposit if you haven’t treated the unit well. However, they can’t deduct for normal wear and tear that comes with living in a rental property. Examples of normal wear and tear include curtains faded by the sun, faded paint on walls, or worn rugs. Excessive damages would include things like cigarette burns in the carpet, big holes in the walls, or a toilet that’s clogged due to the flushing of paper towels. It’s important to remember to go easy on the unit’s plumbing. Clogs can happen quickly when plumbing is misused, and they can cause significant damages. Before you move in, your landlord will conduct an inspection, noting the property’s imperfections. Make sure to attend because your security deposit depends on it.

You may not get your full deposit back if you’ve failed to clean the unit properly when you moved out. Everyone’s cleaning standards are different. To be certain, clarify the standard of cleanliness your landlord wants. They should provide you with a checklist of everything they want cleaned. If you fail to meet the standard, a cleaning crew may be brought in to bring it up to snuff. That’s where you’d lose all or a portion of the security deposit.

What to Expect When You’re a Renter

When you become a renter, you have certain responsibilities that can’t go ignored. The first is your responsibility to the landlord. You’ve signed a contract; you get a place to live, and they get money in return. Therefore, you need to make sure they’re getting paid. The easiest way to ensure this happens is to set up automatic transfers each month, so you won’t forget to pay rent. If you miss a payment, you could be charged a late fee. If you need a few extra days to come up with the cash, talk to your landlord. They may be accommodating and give you a little leeway.

Another responsibility that can’t be ignored is the cleanliness of the unit. It doesn’t have to be spick and span all the time, but you can’t delay taking out the garbage for two weeks either. Perpetual filth is a breeding ground for pests. Ants and cockroaches are attracted to areas that aren’t clean, and mice will find food that’s been sitting out for weeks. If your behaviour has brought these pests into the rental property, you’ll be the one paying the exterminator bill.

Renter Best Practices

It’s a good idea to get tenant insurance when you’re a renter. This insurance will protect your things against certain perils such as flooding, fire, or theft. More importantly, tenant insurance gives you liability coverage. If a friend comes over, slips on water you spilled, and severely injures himself, your tenant insurance will protect you financially. The landlord will have insurance on the building, but that doesn’t protect stuff you own.

Building a good relationship with your landlord and neighbours is also a good thing to do. If you’re friendly with your neighbours, they’ll be able to watch your place if you’re gone for a while. If you’re a good tenant, you won’t anger your landlord with complaints. Get your landlord’s emergency contact number in case something goes wrong, and give your landlord your emergency contact in the off chance they need to be communicated with.

If you don’t know the responsibilities that come with renting, your renting experience may not be the best. To get your security deposit back, treat the place like your own. Don’t damage the property, and keep it clean to avoid pests. Keep in mind it could be you who is the next tenant.

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