FAQs: Human rights in residential and commercial tenancy

  1. Can my landlord evict me if I make a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission?
    No. Retaliation for making or attempting to make a human rights complaint, or for participating in a human rights complaint process, is prohibited under section 10 of the Alberta Human Rights Act (the Act).

  2. I own a business. Does the Act cover my tenancy with a commercial landlord?

  3. Can a landlord ask about my income on an application to rent?
    Yes, however, a landlord may not discriminate against a person based on their source of income, provided that source of income is lawful. Courts and human rights tribunals have found discrimination based on source of income when a landlord refused to rent to a person because their source of income was social assistance, rental subsidies, AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped), or disability benefits.

  4. Can a landlord use a rent-to-income ratio to decide whether a tenant's income is high enough to afford a rental property?
    No. Courts have found that rent-to-income ratios unfairly disqualify groups based on race, gender, 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.

  5. Can a landlord ask a potential tenant for credit checks and references on an application to rent?
    Yes. Provided this information is not used in a discriminatory way, it is not contrary to the Act for a landlord to request a credit check or a reference from a previous landlord. The landlord’s process for screening tenants, including asking for a credit check or reference, should be applied to all potential tenants and should not be used to screen out applicants based on a protected ground.

Revised: July 30, 2018



The Alberta Human Rights Commission is an independent commission of the Government of Alberta.

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