The following guide is intended to be a simplified explanation of some key aspects of renting in Manitoba. This guide is not meant to replace the Residential Tenancies Act as your main source of information on renting in Manitoba. For more in-depth information on renting in Manitoba, you should refer to the Residential Tenancies Guidebook, or call the Residential Tenancies Branch (RTB) for help at (204) 945-2476 .
Recent legislative changes can be found here. These changes effect: notice to tenants who are asked to move; Pet Friendly deposits; administrative penalties; guarantor agreements; rent discounts; and common administrative fees.
Our Tenant and Landlord Resource Guide is now available.
NEW The Independent Advisor Office is a new position at the RTB created to help Landlords get important information and advice that can help them file claims and get ready for hearings. Phone: 204-505-0720. Email.
Smaller property owners can join the Winnipeg Rental Property Owners Association (WRPOA), which advocates for small landlords. Membership is free. Email.
The Landlord Guide, listed below, has been adapted from a guide compiled by the North End Community Renewal Corporation for its Tenant Landlord Cooperation (TLC) program. Much of the information here is from the RTB website. For a printable quick notes guide, click here.
Landlord Guide contents:
What are you responsible for?
What is the tenant responsible for?
When would the RTB get involved?
Signing a tenancy agreement
Ending a tenancy agreement
Renewing an agreement
Subletting or Assigning Leases
Condition inspection report
Late Payment charges
Repairs and Maintenance
Bed Bugs (Bedbug Hotline: 1-855-3MB-BUGS)
Tenants' Abandoned Property
The Residential Tenancies Branch (RTB) is Manitoba's rental authority, and they investigate, mediate, and make decisions on disputes between tenants and landlords over security deposits, repairs, the terms and conditions of a tenancy agreement (lease), notices to move, privacy and payment of utility bills.
You can contact the RTB for help in the following areas:
For information on the Hearing process, click here.
A tenancy agreement can be written, oral or implied. Landlords must provide all new tenants with a completed Notice to New Tenant form when the tenancy begins. Landlords are required to send a copy of this form to the Residential Tenancies Branch. If there is a written tenancy agreement then it must be signed by the tenant and yourself. Once you have signed the tenancy agreement you must give the tenant a copy within 21 days of the signing. A standard residential tenancy agreement provides information on:
There are generally two types of tenancy agreements:
Periodic tenancy: This applies to both month-to month, and week-to-week. A payment period begins on the day rent is due, and ends the day before the next rent is due.
Fixed term tenancy: The tenant is responsible for the rent until the end of the lease, usually one year. The renter cannot move out until the lease is up, or until the renter sublets the unit.
You can give a tenant a notice to move out before their lease is up if the tenant is causing problems, or, if the tenant is not living up to their rental responsibilities. You must deliver the notice to the tenant in person. You can also hand it to an adult at the tenant's residence. This notice must:
If suspect that the tenant is engaged in illegal activity, but you find you have no evidence to evict, you can anonymously contact authorities under the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act.
A tenant can be given notice if they are more than four days late in paying the rent. A landlord can ask a tenant to move out immediately. A notice for non-payment of rent must include:
A new tenant can be asked to move out if they write a bad or NSF (Non-Sufficient Funds) cheque for a security deposit. You may give the tenant five days notice to move out. The notice is cancelled if the tenant pays the deposit and any administrative costs within the five days. If the tenant promises to pay a security deposit after they move in, but then doesn't pay, you can't give the tenant notice to move out.
Suppose a tenant:
You must give a tenant a written warning to correct a problem within a reasonable time. If it's not corrected, then you can ask the tenant to move out, and you must give the tenant notice of one rental payment period. A rental payment period could be one week or one month.
In some situations, you may be able to give a shorter notice. For example, if a tenant is causing extraordinary damage, you can give five days notice. For specific information on giving notice, landlords should contact the branch.
A landlord can ask a tenant to move out if:
The tenant must get notice of at least three rental payment periods. If there is a fixed term agreement, the notice must be for the last three months of the agreement. A landlord must also assist the tenant with the moving costs up to $350.00. Special notice must be given to tenants with school-age children. There are also special rules for tenants living in life lease complexes. Contact the RTB for more information.
If the person who is buying the rental unit wants to live there, they must ask the landlord, in writing, to give the tenant notice to move out. The landlord has to give the tenant at least one month's notice. If there is a fixed term agreement, the landlord must give three months' notice. The notice must be for the last three months of the agreement. If the tenant has school-aged children, there are special requirements for giving notice. Again, the landlord must assist the tenant with moving costs up to $350.00.
If the tenancy agreement is for a fixed term, you must give a Renewal of Tenancy Agreement no later than three (3) months before the end date of the existing agreement. The new agreement must be for the same length of time and include the same benefits and obligations as the existing agreement. You must advise the tenant in writing that if they plan to stay in the rental unit, the new agreement must be signed and returned at least two (2) months before the end of the existing agreement. If the tenant does not sign and return the new agreement as required, the tenancy can be terminated.
If you do not provide a new tenancy agreement and the tenant continues to live in the rental unit after the end of the existing agreement, then the existing agreement is renewed for another term. The term of the renewed agreement is the same term as the term of the original agreement or 12 months, whichever is less. Because you failed to provide a renewal, the tenant may give notice of only one rental payment period to end an automatically renewed agreement.
If a tenant needs to move before their agreement is up then they must get your written permission to assign or sublet the place to another person. You cannot refuse without a good reason. You also have the right to charge a fee of up to $75.00 for the assignment or sublet.
An assignment is when the tenant does not plan to move back in. Here's what happens:
A sublet is when the tenant moves out for a while and then move back in. Here's what happens:
A condition report is a written, detailed description of the condition of a rental unit when the tenant moves in and out. Law does not require it unless asked for by either the tenant or landlord. A condition report can help further any claims for damages that happen.
Ideally, you and the tenant should inspect the rental unit carefully to identify any damages before the move in. It is in your interest to list as much detail as possible to prevent future conflict. Both you and the tenant should sign and you should give a copy of the report to the tenant.
Normal Wear and Tear: Generally normal wear and tear is considered to be any gradual damage resulting from normal use that is not caused by negligence or miss-use. More specific guidelines may be written into the tenancy agreement.
If you ask for a security deposit (otherwise known as a damage deposit), it needs to be received before the tenant moves in. You need to hold the deposit in trust until the tenant moves out. This money protects you if the tenant:
You can only ask for a security deposit before the tenant moves in, or when the tenancy agreement is transferred to another person (sublet). A security deposit cannot be more than one half of a month's rent. You must give the tenant a receipt that shows the amount of the security deposit, the date received, and the address of the rental unit.
Pets. You can also collect a security deposit for pets. The RTB now allows you to collect up to one month's rent as a pet damage deposit. Click here for RTB's pet check list and resource guide.
When returning the deposit, you must calculate the interest for the period of time from when the deposit was received until the deposit was returned. The government sets the interest rate paid on the security deposit.
The security deposit must be returned to the tenant within 14 days of the end of the tenancy, unless the tenant owes rent, has damaged the rental unit, or has left the unit dirty. If you elect to make a claim on the damage deposit, you must tell the tenant about the claim within 28 days of the end of tenancy. If the tenant does not agree with your claim on the security deposit, they can ask the Residential Tenancies Branch to make a decision on who should get the security deposit and interest.
The tenant can also use their security deposit as part of the last month's rent if you agree to it in writing.
In most cases you can legally increase the rent once every 12 months. Each year, the government sets a limit on the amount that rents can be increased (and exemptions). This limit is called a rent increase guideline. (Click here for application for increases above the guideline.)
Generally, you have to give a tenant three months' notice of a regular rent increase. A notice of rent increase must:
You also must give the Residential Tenancies Branch a copy of this notice within 14 days of giving it to the tenant. A copy of the Notice of Rent Increase may be filed with the Branch on paper or electronically. If you file on paper, the Branch supplies the Notice of Rent Increase forms to landlords. You may use your own form as long as it has the same information as the Branch's form.
You can give the tenant the Notice of Rent Increase by:
If you are giving your tenant a fixed term tenancy agreement renewal along with the Notice of Rent Increase, you must tell the tenant that:
A tenant is responsible to pay you the full rent on the day the rent is due. If the rent is not paid on time, you may charge the tenant a late payment fee. A landlord must tell a tenant in writing that they will charge a late payment fee if the tenant doesn't pay rent on time. A landlord can include this information:
Once a tenant knows about the fee, a landlord is entitled to charge it.
Fee Structure. The rate for a late payment fee is set by regulation. You cannot charge more than what has been set by regulation. A landlord may charge a late payment fee of:
As a landlord, you must make sure a rental unit meets health, building, maintenance, and occupancy standards. Tenants are responsible to repair any damage that they, or their guests, cause in the unit or complex.
Regular Repairs: General maintenance, including wear and tear and appliance repairs (if appliances are included with rent), is the responsibility of the landlord. You must fix anything that is covered by the rent. Also, you must maintain the upkeep of all common areas, including halls, lobbies, stairways, elevators, and laundry rooms to name a few.
Maintain a good line of communication with your tenants. If you do not respond to repair requests from your tenants, then they are within their rights to contact the Residential Tenancies Branch (RTB) for help.
The RTB may possibly inspect the rental unit. If repairs are needed, the RTB will give you a reasonable amount of time to do the work. However, if you still do not complete the work, then the RTB will order you to complete the work by a certain date. If you continue to refuse to do the required work, the RTB will hire a contractor to do the work. The tenant will be instructed to send the rent to the RTB to pay for the contractor. The RTB will redirect twice the estimated cost for repairs. In this type of case, the rent is considered paid.
If the tenant is behind on their rent, then you are not obligated to make any non-emergency repairs until the rent is paid in full.
Bed bugs are a growing menace for tenants and a significant financial burden for Landlords. Research as much as you can to learn how to undertake prevention and to deal with an outbreak. Cooperation is key
in preventing or eliminating bed bug infestations. Click here for some basic information. This information sheet can be handed out to tenants. There is also a fact sheet on the Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants.
The bedbug hotline is 1-855-3MB-BUGS (1-855-362-2847). The public can call with questions about bed bug prevention, how to identify an infestation, and what steps to take when a bedbug infestation occurs.
The hotline is staffed by trained operators during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. Outside of these hours, callers can leave a message, and the call will be returned the next business day. There is also an email address (email@example.com) that the public can use.
There is also a bed bug website: www.manitoba.ca/bedbugs. It provides a wide variety of information about bed bugs, including myths and facts about bed bugs, and fact sheets on how to prevent bed bugs from entering your home and what to do if you have an infestation.
Tenants are entitled to privacy. In most cases, you need to give no less than 24 hours, and no more than two weeks of notice before you enter a suite. The notice must be in writing, give the reason for the entry, and provide the date and time of the visit. If you need to enter the unit more than once, the notice must indicate all the proposed entry dates. The tenant has the right to refuse this entry if it is inconvenient, but they must have a valid reason (for example, family is visiting), and they must give you a chance to enter on another day or time. 'Not being home' is not a valid reason to stop you from entering a suite. You have the right to enter whether they are home or not, as long as you give proper notice. If you need to enter multiple suites, then you must give notice to all the tenants; it is not good enough to post a general notice of entry in a common area of the building.
If you enter the suite for an inspection and intend to take pictures of damage, the tenant has the right to refuse to allow you to take pictures of their personal belongings. If you hire someone to do work in the unit, you do not have to stay in the suite until the work is done. You are, however, responsible for the activity of the tradespersons.
Notice is not needed:
Unfortunately, tenants sometimes leave things behind and landlords must decide what to do with them. To protect yourself, you must follow the requirements in the Residential Tenancies Act to dispose of abandoned property.
If the items left behind have monetary value, you must complete a form called Inventory of Tenant's Abandoned Property and send it to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) and the tenant. The Branch provides the form. You must store the items for 60 days. After that time, the Branch will authorize you to sell the items, usually by public auction. If the tenant owes the landlord money under a Branch Order, you can put the sale proceeds towards that Order. If you do not have an Order or the tenant does not owe you any money, you must send the sale proceeds to the Branch. The Branch holds the money for the tenant for two years. After two years, the money is transferred to a fund the Branch uses to provide education material for landlords and tenants.
If you decide that the items have limited monetary value (i.e. if the items were sold, the sale proceeds would not cover the costs of moving, storing and selling them), you must make a reasonable effort to contact the tenant about picking up their property. You must also list the items on the form mentioned above and send it to the Branch. You must also send a copy to the tenant at the last known address (this may be the address of the rental unit). Once you have done this, you can give the items to a charitable organization or dispose of them at an appropriate disposal facility.
If you believe the items have no monetary value, or are unsanitary or unsafe to store, you may dispose of them, without authorization from the Branch, with one exception. If a tenant leaves personal papers or photographs, the landlord must hold them for 60 days before disposing of them. You must also complete the inventory form and send it to the Branch and the tenant.
For more information, contact the RTB at (204) 945-6273, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The goal of both landlords and tenants should be to work together in a cooperative relationship. Tenants and landlords, and tenants and other tenants, should try to talk with each other about concerns or problems before contacting others for assistance.
The following steps may be useful in helping to resolve conflicts:
Keep track of the steps you have taken to fix the problem. Keep a file with dates and descriptions of communications, the rental agreement or lease, copies of notices and letters, and dates and notes about telephone calls. This information will be helpful if you need to ask the RTB for help. If your attempts to resolve the dispute fail, you can ask the RTB to mediate. The RTB can be reached by phone at (204) 945-6273, or by e-mail at email@example.com.