Residential and commercial tenancy: What you need to know

Section 5 of the Alberta Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the area of residential and commercial tenancy. Age is not a protected ground in the area of tenancy. The AHR Act prohibits discrimination in the area of tenancy based on these grounds:

  • race
  • colour
  • ancestry
  • place of origin
  • religious beliefs
  • gender (including pregnancy, sexual harassment, and gender identity)
  • physical disability
  • mental disability
  • marital status
  • family status
  • source of income
  • sexual orientation

Based on these grounds, a landlord cannot:

  • deny a potential tenant the right to occupy an advertised unit; or
  • discriminate against a tenant or potential tenant regarding a term or condition of the tenancy.

Discrimination includes harassment of a tenant or potential tenant when it is based on one of the protected grounds.

The AHR Act covers tenancy situations from the moment a rental unit is advertised, or otherwise said to be available, to the end of the tenancy.

The AHR Act covers:

  • residential tenancy in a "self-contained dwelling unit" such as a rented apartment, house, or townhouse
  • commercial tenancy such as a rented store, restaurant, or business property.

If you are unsure whether your unit fits within this definition, contact the Alberta Human Rights Commission for guidance.

Courts and human rights tribunals have found that condominium corporations are accountable for discrimination in rental properties under the protected areas of tenancy and services customarily available to the public. When making a human rights complaint about a condominium corporation or association, a tenant should cite the area of services as well as tenancy. The tenant should also refer to the bylaws of the condominium corporation to see what bylaws there are regarding the particular situation.

For more information, see:
What information can landlords require from potential tenants?
A discussion of protected grounds in the area of tenancy
Duty to accommodate
Commercial tenancy
Related resources

Revised: March 9, 2010

 

Due to confidentiality concerns, the Commission cannot reply to complaints of discrimination by email. Please contact the Commission by phone or regular mail if you have a specific complaint.

You can access information about making FOIP requests for records held by the Commission on our Contact us page.

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