Leases and Rental Agreements
A lease is a legal agreement between you and the landlord. A lease gives you a right to live on a property for a specific amount of time, typically 6 months – 1 year. When considering signing a lease, think about how consistent and predictable your income will be for the term of the lease. For example, if you lost your job, would you still be able to pay rent? You are legally required to make sure rent is paid for the length of your lease.
A rental agreement is like a lease, but the time commitment of the rental is less, such as month to month.
Both agreements will have rules that the renter must follow.
- You do not have to sign a lease, but the landlord has a right to not permit you to live there if you don’t.
- You do not have to provide a guarantor unless it is specifically written in your rental agreement or in your lease.
- The landlord has a right to ask you to provide services around your property, however, they can only ask you to do what is in your rental agreement.
- You have a right to a copy of your rental agreement/ lease
- Your landlord is required to give you a renewal agreement 3 months before your lease expires, if they don’t, then your agreement moves to month-to-month.
- If you agree to sign a new lease or agreement, you have to give it back to your landlord within 2 months.
- Once you are in a month-to-month agreement, you do not have to sign another lease or fixed-term.
A deposit is money you will get back at the end of your rental if you meet certain conditions based on your rental agreement. In Manitoba, renters could be asked to pay damage and pet deposits from their landlord. Conditions include things like no damage to the rental, no pets, and no parties.
- Damage deposits cannot be more than ½ of your first months rent.
- Your deposits need to be given back within 14 days unless they think you broke your rental agreement.
- Your damage deposit collects interest and your landlord has to give you that back as well as your damage deposit. You can find the interest rates here.
- It is against the law for your landlord to ask for a key deposit.
- If you have been approved for a pet, you the maximum pet deposit is ½ months rent.
- You must be notified by the landlord within 28 days if they are going to keep some or all of your damage deposit.
- If your landlord cannot get a hold of you to give your deposit back, they have to give it to the Tenancy Branch and they will hold it.
A move-in/out inspection is a written recording of what your rental looks like and functions before you move in, and when you move out.
These inspections are important because your landlord could say you caused damage when you resulting in you losing your damage deposit
- There is no legal requirement to do a move-in/out inspection, it is in your best interest to do one. Get a Free Rental Unit Condition Report
Rent pays for your stay at your rental, but may not include utilities like heat, internet, or electricity. Reading your rental agreement will confirm what is included and what you have to pay yourself.
The full rent needs to be paid by the due date that was written in your tenancy agreement. One way to think about it is that you are paying, in advance, to live in a place for 1 month.
- Rent can be paid by cash, cheque, e-transfer or money order
- You do not have to provide postdated cheques
- Cash payments should come with a receipt of how much you paid, the date it was paid and the purpose of the payment (rent, deposit, late fee)
Access to your rental
When you complete your inspection and get the keys to your unit and property, you should receive keys to the areas on the property that you have a right to go to like your mailbox, laundry room, and parking.
- The landlord cannot legally stop your entry to your apartment unless there is an Order of Possession from the RTB or a court order. If the landlord illegally blocks access to your unit or building you can contact the Lock Out Officer with the RTB and they will help protect your rights.
- The landlord cannot stop you from accessing common spaces in your building such as laundry, mail or parking unless it is specifically written in your agreement. Not providing you with a key is considered stopping your access.
Your landlord can charge you a fee if you pay your rent late.
- Your landlord has to tell you in writing that they will be charging you late fees.
- For the first late day, the charge can be up to a $10.
- Each day after that, the fee is $2 for each day.
- The maximum penalty for late payments is $100.
You cannot cancel your fixed-term lease, but you can rent it to someone else if your landlord agrees. Landlords must have a valid reason if they say no.
If you are month-to-month then you must give one month’s notice to end the tenancy.
There are several different reasons you could be evicted from your rental. However, you have rights related to eviction.
Eviction notices need to be in writing and on a specific form from the Rental Tenancy Branch (RTB). If your eviction is through text or a phone call, it is not legal. Any eviction notice must be delivered in person.
You can be evicted with cause for the following reasons:
- You didn’t pay your rent on time. You have 3 days after the due date to pay your rent. If you don’t do this, the landlord can serve you an eviction notice on the 5th day. If you pay your rent after you receive the eviction notice, it does not guarantee you can stay.
- You were late paying rent 3 or more times in a year. In this case, you are considered habitually late and your landlord could choose to evict you. By law, if you are served an eviction notice because of failure to pay rent, the landlord has the right to give you as little as 24 hours notice to move.
- You violated the tenancy agreement such as no parties, or quiet after 11 pm. First, your landlord will provide you with a warning letter, if the rules continue to happen the landlord can give you written notice for eviction. If the eviction is for violating your tenancy agreement the landlord can provide you with as little as 5 days’ notice.
For your landlord to evict you for a legal reason they must provide you with written notice that says why you have to move, the fees you owe, the date you must leave, a statement saying you can dispute it, and a statement that says whether the eviction is still in effect or not even if rent is paid.
I’ve received an eviction notice
First thing is to make sure the notice includes all the proper information required by law:
- Your name and address
- Reason you are being evicted
- Any fees you owe from the time you received the notice until the last day of the tenancy
- The date you must leave
- A statement saying you can dispute it
- A statement telling you if the eviction notice is final, or if you can address the issue(s).
If you don’t move out by the date the landlord gave, then the landlord can file an application for an Order of Possession with the RTB. This order allowed the landlord to keep your items and try to resale them to get some of the money they lost back.
- For personal use which includes a spouse and immediate family members.
- For large renovations or changing the use of the unit.
- Have sold the property and the new owner doesn’t want to rent.
The amount of notice landlord is required to give you 3-5 months’ notice if they are evicting without cause. The amount of notice depends on the vacancy rate in your city or town. The vacancy rate is the government’s way of saying how available housing is by location.
Refusing to Leave
If you refuse to leave the property after the notice of termination date, your landlord can file an Order of Possession with the RTB. An Order of Possession means that the landlord can keep anything in your unit and try to resell it to get lost money back.
Landlords must give you 24 hours – two weeks’ notice before they can enter your unit. Reasons to enter your apartment can be for health and safety reasons (checking the fire alarm, bedbugs, leaks) because they suspect you are violating your agreement or for inspections.
- There are no rental increases allowed for 2023 unless you live in:
- A rental unit that is $1570 or more since December 31, 2022
- Your unit was remodelled in the last 2 years
- Your building was built in the last 20 years
- Landlords will still have to apply to the RTB and justify why they need to increase the rent.
- Your landlord has to give you 3 months’ notice before they can increase your rent.
- The rental increase letter has to be in writing and includes:
- how much your rent is now,
- the dollar and percentage amount of the increase
- the date the increase starts
- show how they calculated the increase
- The landlord must also let the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) know they are increasing your rent within 14 days of you being notified. The RTB must give your landlord permission to increase your rent.
- Rent cannot be increased by more than 3% each year
- Your landlord does not have to fix anything if you owe rent.
- If your landlord is not repairing your unit you can submit a repair request to the RTB. RTB will tell them how long they have to fix it. The RTB can also give you permission to pay for the repair and take it off your rent.
- It is your landlord’s responsibility to get rid of bed bugs by giving you a list to prepare for treatment, and paying for an exterminator unless they can prove that you brought the bed bugs in, or you slowed down the process the landlord can file a claim for extra damages. This claim will be reviewed by the RTB.
- If you get bed bugs, or think you have them, notify your landlord immediately.
- Preparing for extermination requires several tasks and access to cleaning supplies. Your landlord is required to provide you with a list. The preparation could include the following:
- Vacuum with a nozzle attachment
- Wash all your bedding in hot water
- Dry your bedding in a dryer
- Clean up any clutter and garbage
- Storage for your clothes, anything on shelves, or countertops
- Move furniture so your baseboards are showing
The Manitoba government allows the landlord to decide if their unit is pet friendly. The landlord can restrict the number, size and type of pet you have.
The only exception to this rule is if you have a verified service animal. That animal is considered a worker and not a pet and is exempt from the law.
Pet deposits cannot be more than ½ of the first month’s rent.
Get Help Advocating
Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB)
Residential Tenancies Branch
1700 – 155 Carlton Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 3H8
Toll Free in Manitoba: 1-800-782-8403
Our Office in Brandon:
Residential Tenancies Branch
143 – 340 9th Street
Brandon, Manitoba R7A 6C2
Toll Free in Manitoba: 1-800-656-8481
Our Office in Thompson:
Residential Tenancies Branch
113 – 59 Elizabeth Drive
Thompson, Manitoba R8N 1X4
Toll Free in Manitoba: 1-800-229-0639
Legal Aid Manitoba
The Advocacy Unit provides a range of legal services to eligible tenants who face housing-related issues such as:
- Health and/or safety issues with your rental unit
- Tenant and Landlord claims over $200.00
4th Floor – 287 Broadway
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0R9
Telephone: 204-985-8500 Toll Free: 1-800-261-2960
Brandon Area Office – Brandon
236 – 11th Street
Brandon, MB R7A 4J6
Telephone: 204-729-3492 Toll Free: 1-800-766-2148
Northern Area Office – The Pas
P.O. Box 2429
1 St. Goddard Avenue
The Pas, MB R9A 1M2
Telephone: 204-627-4837 Toll Free: 1-855-775-2397
Northern Area Office – Thompson
2nd Floor, 3 Station Road
Thompson, MB R8N 0N3
Telephone: 204-677-1224 Toll Free: 1-855-444-4665
Parklands Area Office – Dauphin
138 1st Avenue S.W., Unit A
Dauphin, MB R7N 1S2
Telephone: 204-622-4666 Toll Free: 1-877-622-4660