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Landlord Guide

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) 985-5233 .  Email.

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For professional property management referrals or information, contact the Professional Property Management Association (PPMA).  Red River College, in association with the PPMA, also offers a certified program called the Professional Apartment Caretaker Program.

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
Security deposits
Rent increases
Late Payment charges
Repairs and Maintenance
Bed Bugs (Bedbug Hotline: 1-855-3MB-BUGS)
Privacy
Tenants' Abandoned Property
Dispute Resolution

What are you responsible for?
General Landlord responsibilities include:
  • Make the suite ready for the tenant on the date the tenant is to move in.
  • Provide a written receipt when rent is paid in cash; the receipt should include the amount of rent received, the date received, and the address of the rental unit and complex.
  • Do repairs within a reasonable time frame and keep the unit in good condition.
  • Adhear to all regulations, including Livability Bylaws and Fire Safety standards.
  • Utilities:  Ensure the supply of essential services (heat, gas, electricity, hot and cold water) and any other public utilities that the landlord is required to provide. To record and monitor readings for electricity and natural gas, use Manitoba Hydro's Landlord Express (click here).  For the City Of Winnipeg's Water and Waste, click here
  • Not interfere with the supply of essential services.
  • Allow a tenant or a member of a tenant's household to enjoy the use of the rental unit and the complex for all normal purposes.
  • Investigate complaints of disturbance or endangering of safety as soon as possible and try to resolve the problem.
  • Provide and maintain doors and locks to make a rental unit reasonably secure.
  • Live up to tenancy agreements and The Residential Tenancies Act.

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What is the Tenant Responsible for?
General Tenant responsibilities include:
  • Pay the rent on time, on or before the first day of the month.
  • Respect the suite and the building.
    • Keep the suite, and appliances clean.
    • Keep the yard clean, cut grass, and shovel snow from sidewalks.
  • Pay for or repair all damage that the tenant or their guests cause within a reasonable time.
  • Make sure that the tenant and their guests do not disturb other people in the building or neighboring properties.
  • Do not do anything that endangers the safety of others in the building.
  • Live up to all tenancy agreements and The Residential Tenancies Act.
  • Notify caretaker or landlord as soon as possible of necessary repairs.
  • Redecorate (paint, etc) the unit is only permitted with the consent of the landlord.
  • Be aware of pet policies.
  • Not changing or adding locks before getting permission from the landlord.
  • Not allowing anyone who is not on the lease to live in the suite.
  • Obey the landlord's reasonable rules and regulations, as stated in the lease.

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When would the RTB get involved?

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:

  • To get information on tenant's and landlord's rights and responsibilities.
  • To get information on Orders the RTB issued against specific tenants.
  • To file a claim for compensation against a tenant if you suffered a loss because of a tenant's failure to perform an obligation under the tenancy agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act.
  • To arrange mediation services with the RTB. In mediation, a mediation officer tries to help the landlord and tenant reach agreement on a claim or on an application for an order of possession. A mediation officer does not take sides nor passes judgement.

For information on the Hearing process, click here.

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Signing a tenancy agreement

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:

  • the date the tenancy begins and ends;
  • the amount of the rent and the date it must be paid;
  • what is included in the rent;
  • the names of the people who will live in the rental unit;
  • the utilities that the tenant is responsible to pay; and
  • rules and conditions from The Residential Tenancies Act as well as your own reasonable house rules.

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.

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Ending an agreement

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:

  • be in writing
  • give the date when the tenant must move out
  • say why the tenant has to move
  • give the address where the tenant lives
  • be signed by the landlord
  • include a statement that says the tenant can dispute the landlord's notice

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.

Other reasons for eviction:
  1. Not paying the rent on time

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:

  • the amount of rent owed
  • the date and time the tenant is to leave
  • statements that say that:
  • the tenant can dispute the landlord's notice; and
  • if the tenant pays the rent, the notice is void, unless the landlord tells the tenant, in writing, that the payment has been received but they must still move out
  1. Paying a security deposit with an NSF cheque

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.

  1. Default - other reasons (see other forms on the RTB website)

Suppose a tenant:

  • doesn't keep the rental unit reasonably clean
  • damages the premises
  • disturbs others in the complex or nearby properties
  • changes the locks on their rental unit without the landlord's permission
  • endangers the safety of others in the rental complex
  • breaks a term of the tenancy agreement (an example might be a "no pet rule")
  • ignores an important house rule like "no barbecuing on the balcony"
  • lets too many people live in the unit (this could violate a tenancy agreement or health standards)
  • misrepresents a rental unit to potential tenants or buyers

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.

  1. Landlord's use

A landlord can ask a tenant to move out if:

  • the landlord wants to move into the rental unit, or if they want a spouse, parent, a spouse's parent or adult children to move in
  • the rental unit is to be destroyed within six months of the end of the tenancy
  • renovations are needed, and the tenant could not live in the unit while the work is being done
  • the rental unit is needed for another purpose, like a business - the unit becomes a cooperative housing unit, where only members and shareholders can live

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.

What happens when a rental unit is sold?

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.

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Renewing an agreement

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.

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Subletting and Assigning Leases

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:

  • the tenant finds a new tenant to take the unit;
  • the tenant must obtain your written approval for the new tenant; you cannot unreasonably withhold consent;
  • you take the new security deposit from the new tenant; the security deposit is not transferred from the first tenant to the new tenant;
  • the new and old tenants, as well as yourself, sign the "Assignment of Tenancy Agreement" part of the lease;
  • the old tenant is clear of the lease once you do an outgoing condition report with them.

A sublet is when the tenant moves out for a while and then move back in. Here's what happens:

  • the tenant gives another tenant permission to live in the apartment or house for an agreed upon time;
  • the tenant must obtain your written approval for the sub-tenant; you cannot unreasonably withhold consent;
  • the new and old tenants, as well as yourself, sign the "subletting agreement" part of the lease;
  • the original tenant is still responsible for the lease and any damage to the property, even though they are not living there;
  • the original tenant must charge the subletting tenant the same rent that was being paid;
  • you are to keep the security deposit in the name of the original tenant.

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Condition inspection report

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.

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Security Deposits

If you ask for a security 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:

  • Does not pay the rent
  • Leaves without notice
  • Causes damage
  • Does not clean up properly when they leave

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.

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.

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Rent Increases

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. (For application for increases above the guideline, or for buildings exempt from rent controls, go to the RTB website directly.)

Generally, you have to give a tenant three months' notice of a regular rent increase. A notice of rent increase must:

  • be in writing
  • show the current rent being paid
  • show the amount of the proposed rent increase, both in dollars and as a percentage (for example, $20.00 or 3%)
  • give the date the increase will take effect
  • say that the increase is illegal unless the tenant gets three month's notice
  • show the annual rent increase guideline, for example, 1.5%
  • say that the tenant has the right to object to the amount of the rent increase

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:

  • handing it to the tenant;
  • handing it to an apparent adult at the tenant's rental unit; or
  • sending it to the tenant's address by pre-paid, first class mail; if you send the notice by mail, it's considered given on the fifth day after the day you mail it.

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:

  • they may continue to live in the rental unit;
  • they must return the signed agreement to you at least two months before their existing agreement ends, if they intend to continue living in the unit; and,
  • if their new tenancy agreement increases the rent by more than the guideline set for that year, they may sign the agreement and still have a right to end the tenancy later with notice of two rental payment periods; the tenant's right to give notice is in effect from the date they receive notice that you are applying for an above guideline rent increase until 14 days after the Branch or the Residential Tenancies Commission issues a decision on your rent increase application.

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Late Payment charges

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:

  • on a tenancy agreement; or
  • in the house rules (A written rule a landlord may have for tenants in addition to the obligations in a tenancy agreement.  For example: A tenant may not have a pet in the rental unit.)

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:

  • up to $10.00 for the day the rent was due; and
  • up to $2.00 for each day after the due date that the rent is late in any consecutive number of rental payment periods, to a maximum of $100.00.

 

Repairs and Maintenance

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.

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Bed Bugs (Bedbug Hotline: 1-855-3MB-BUGS)

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 steps.  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 (bedbugs@gov.mb.ca) 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.


For more information, go to our Bed Bug page>>

 

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Privacy

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:

  • If there is an emergency
  • If the tenant agrees at the time
  • To show the unit to potential renters after a tenant has given or been given notice that they are moving out
  • To inspect the premises on the day the tenant is moving out

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Tenants' Abandoned Property

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 rtb@gov.mb.ca.

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Dispute Resolution

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:

  • Manage your anger. Showing your anger (swearing, yelling, etc.) will only make you seem more unreasonable and will be a roadblock to resolving any dispute. Take some time to think about your problem and plan your argument. If you are going to lose your temper set another date to talk about the problem to give you more time to calm down.
  • Listen to each other. Try not to focus on blame. Clearly explain the problem and how it affects you. Listen to the other person's views without making negative comments or interrupting.
  • Try to understand the other person's needs and explain your own needs.
  • Think of solutions. Work together to come up with possible solutions that please both parties.
  • Create a plan. Plan what will be done, who will do it, and when it will be done. Talk about what you will do in the future if more problems come up.

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 rtb@gov.mb.ca.

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