Calgary Housing Company’s Eviction Prevention Program aims to support successful tenancies and to employ best practices to prevent eviction from CHC where possible.
The vast majority of people experiencing eviction processes is a result of late rent payments. The focus is on primary and secondary approaches towards addressing the root causes of the late rent payments and preventing the circumstance. Significantly less common are circumstances that involve eviction for breaches of lease commitments or tenancy regulation with regard to tenant responsibilities (i.e. behaviours affecting neighbours peaceful enjoyment of property, violence or illegal activities.)
Read the CHC Eviction Prevention Policy
The program seeks to balance CHC’s social mandate with the business needs of the company including the rights and safety of all CHC tenants, staff and the surrounding community, as well as individual tenants while maintaining compliance with the Residential Tenancies Act and other regulations under the Alberta Housing Act.
The principles of the Eviction Prevention Program are:
- All actions will reflect a flexible and compassionate position to prevent eviction. A flexible and compassionate approach to eviction prevention does not mean eviction will never occur, but rather that CHC strives to ensure tenants are in the right program that is best suited to meet their needs and support a positive housing outcome. This may be within CHC programming, or a transfer or referral to another housing provider.
- CHC will work with tenants, community agencies and other public supports where possible to identify solutions and to maintain tenancies wherever possible; and where eviction is not preventable, to make every effort to refer the tenant(s) to other housing options.
- CHC recognizes the rights of each individual to be treated fairly, with respect and without discrimination.
- CHC is committed to the early identification and mitigation of issues that may negatively impact housing stability for tenants.
CHC receives the majority of its revenue from rent that tenants pay. Collection and management of rent is crucial to the ongoing viability of the Corporation and the delivery of our social mandate.
Communication and trust are a key component of the eviction prevention process. CHC focuses on different strategies of eviction prevention, examples include:
- Tenant Onboarding at Lease Signing to detail roles and responsibilities of both tenant and landlord
- Rent Smart – an 8 week program offered 4 times/year to educate residents on tenant and landlord responsibilities
- Tenant Liaison supports – CHC has 8 Tenant Liaisons (registered Social Workers) who provider referral supports to residents ranging from food security, financial literacy, vocational training, legal services, mental health supports and more
- On-site partnerships at select properties with resource rooms to provide additional resources and supports (e.g. Women in Need, Community Social Workers, Mustard Seed)
- Rent adjustments where a household has had a decrease in income (only available in certain programs – speak to your Property Manager if you have had a change in income)
- On site office hours for Property Managers and Tenant Liaisons to ensure CHC staff are available to address any concerns or supports needs from residents
- Payment Plans to support households in arrears as well as alternative payment dates
- Mediation supports where there is escalating conflict between neighbours or within a household
- Referrals to case management support where a households requires more ongoing case management and support
- Transfers to supportive housing agencies
- Warning notices for breaches to the lease agreement (excludes cases of violence)
- Release of Information to collaborate and coordinate supports for households connected to other support agencies
There are two types of breaches where CHC is limited in our ability to prevent an eviction, those are:
- Violence of threat of violence towards CHC tenants, staff or contractors
- CHC has a zero-tolerance policy to ensure the rights and safety of tenants and to uphold our legal responsibilities as a landlord under the Residential Tenancies Act, as well as our duties to create a safe (including psychologically safe) work environment for our staff)
- Failure to provide income verification documents
- As CHC is required under the Affordable Housing Act, and as part of conditions of operating and funding agreements, to verify household income and to ensure annually that households are eligible for subsidized housing
Response to Breach of Lease Agreement
Where there is a household at risk of eviction, or a non-renewal of their lease the following actions are taken, based on the type of breach to the lease agreement and/or Residential Tenancy Act
Type of Breach
What action can be expected
- Any household in arrears is sent a letter informing of the amount of arrears and information about CHC’s Payment Plan process
- CHC supports flexible payment plans that are co-created with the resident to get back on track. Payment plans can even extend multiple years to ensure the success of the payment plan.
- CHC supports residents with information and options about 3rd party payments to support where there are concerns or challenges with money management (e.g. Alberta Works will send the rent portion directly to CHC)
- CHC provides referrals to agencies that provide financial assistance for households with arrears
Over Income Limits
- In social housing programs, regulated under the Affordable Housing Act, households must be under the Income Limits to remain eligible for subsidized housing. Where households are over the Income Limits, or refuse to provide proof of income, CHC provides 3 months notice to residents they must vacate (as per the legislation).
Breach of Residential Tenancy Act (RTA)
- Where there are chronic breaches of the RTA – particularly breaches that impede the rights of other tenants to “reasonable enjoyment of their premises” – tenants can expect both written communication from CHC as well as meetings to address the behaviors and provide clear expectations to sustain. This response would be to breaches such as frequent noise disturbances, criminal activity, damage to the unit
Violence, or anti-social/criminal behavior deemed to cause high risk to residents and community
- Where there are acts of violence from a resident, CHC undertakes an investigation – led by the Property Manager and with support of their supervisor and in consultation with other parties including CPS, Corporate Security and CHC’s legal services where appropriate.
- Where there is acts of violence that puts residents, the community or CHC staff/contracts at risk, a 24 Hour Notice of Eviction is issued under the authority of the Residential Tenancies Act
- When a 24 Hour Eviction Notice is served, CHC staff continue to provide information to residents about services and resources, including alternative housing. At times, the impacted households may not have an immediate alternative housing to go to, and CHC will work with the household to allow them to stay short term while alternative housing is secured – particularly when there are children. This ability is of course dependent on the risk assessment to other residents, CHC staff and the community.
CHC is committed to our vision of becoming the leading affordable housing provider in Canada – to ensuring housing stability and success for the 25,000 Calgarians who live in a CHC managed unit. We partner and collaborate with over 100 non-profit organizations to offer programs and services to residents to not only achieve housing stability, but to improve quality of life and support individuals and families to thrive. When a household is at risk of, or facing eviction, CHC partners with agencies to provide housing stability and homeless diversion supports.
Recognizing that communication is a key pillar for eviction prevention, CHC has implemented enhanced language services and has a language line available to residents through our customer service centre.
As an affordable housing provider, eviction is a last resort, and significant resources are employed to prevent such outcomes as we understand the impacts and consequences of homelessness and precarious housing. However, in cases of violence CHC must ensure, as a landlord, that we are providing safe homes to individuals and children. This approach is applied with a commitment towards safe communities for all residents, staff and contractors