FAQs: Human rights in residential and commercial tenancy
- Can my landlord evict me if I make a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission?
Section 10 of the Alberta Human Rights Act prohibits retaliation based on a human rights complaint. Retaliation for making or attempting to make a human rights complaint, or for giving evidence about a complaint is prohibited under the AHR Act.
- I own a business. Does the AHR Act cover my tenancy with a commercial landlord?
- Can a landlord ask about my financial situation on an application to rent?
Landlords can ask potential tenants for information on the amount of income they make. This can be used as one factor in deciding whether to rent to a tenant. A landlord may not discriminate against a person based on their lawful source of income. Courts and human rights tribunals have found discrimination based on source of income when a landlord refuses to rent to a person because their source of income is social assistance, rental subsidies, AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped), or disability benefits.
- Can a landlord use a rent-to-income ratio to decide whether a tenant's income is high enough to afford a rental property?
Courts have found that these rent-to-income ratios unfairly disqualify groups based on race, sex, marital status, family status, place of origin, and source of income. Courts have said that rent-to-income ratios are not reliable predictors of whether a person will default on their rent.
- Can a landlord ask a potential tenant for credit checks and references on an application to rent?
Landlords are permitted to ask for credit history and previous landlord references as long as this information is not used in a discriminatory fashion.
Revised: March 9, 2010
The Alberta Human Rights Commission is an independent commission of the Government of Alberta.
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