The relationship between a Manitoba landlords and tenants is governed by a multitude of laws. These include the Manitoba Residential Tenancies Act, the Residential Tenancies Regulation, the Residential Tenancies Interest Regulation and the Residential Rent Regulation.
As a Manitoba landlord, it goes without saying that it’s critical to understand these laws. And, as you probably know, ignorance of the law is no defense in court.
The following is a basic overview of the landlord-tenant laws in Manitoba.
Manitoba Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
Tenants are protected by law when they occupy a property. These tenant rights make it clear what is expected of both landlords and tenants.
The following are the basic rights of a Manitoba tenant. They have the right to:
- Live in a habitable rental unit. As a landlord, you’re responsible for ensuring that your tenant lives in a property that is properly maintained and in a good state of repair. Even if your tenant finds the problems after moving in, you must fix them when requested.
- Access vital utilities. Regardless of whether your tenant has paid rent or not, you must ensure they have access to vital utilities. Examples include electricity, heat and water supply. Also, you must maintain your tenant’s home at a temperature of at least 20 degrees from September 1st to June 15.
- Privacy. Violating your tenant’s right to privacy is a serious lease violation. You are required to provide your tenants with at least 24 hours’ notice and not more than 2 weeks’ notice before accessing their home. The entry times must also be reasonable. As per The Residential Tenancies Branch, the entry time must be between 9AM and 8PM.
- Fair treatment. In Manitoba, it’s illegal for a landlord to discriminate against a tenant because of their disability, familial status, sex, religion, and race.
When it comes to responsibilities, tenants in Manitoba are expected to:
- Pay the rent on time.
- Permit entry when requested by the landlord.
- Notify the landlord when there is a maintenance issue.
- Not interfere, threaten, coerce, obstruct or harass the landlord.
- Keep the premises clean, and repair any damage arising from their negligence or carelessness.
Manitoba Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
As a landlord, you have a right to:
- Collect rent when it’s due.
- Screen tenants, as prescribed under the Manitoba Human Rights Code.
- Evict a tenant when they breach the terms of their lease or the Manitoba tenancy agreement.
- Increase rent up-to the annual limit set by the government.
- Access the rented premises to perform crucial responsibilities like make repairs and maintain the unit. In doing so, however, you must ensure you follow the terms of the lease.
As for responsibilities, you are required to:
- Ensure the property meets the basic safety, health and housing standards established in law.
- Always ensure the property has an adequate supply of electricity, fuel, and water (both hot and cold).
- Not to interfere, threaten, coerce, obstruct, or harass your tenant.
- Not seize, without due process, a tenant’s property for defaulting on payment of rent or for other violations.
- Not interfere with a tenant’s quiet enjoyment of their rented premises.
Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Manitoba
1. Security Deposits
In Manitoba, you cannot ask for more than half of the first month’s rent as a security deposit. Also, in the case of a pet, you can charge the tenant a pet deposit that’s equivalent to half the monthly rent.
When a tenant moves out at the end of the lease, you must return the deposit no more than 14 days thereafter. The only exception to this is if you’ve made some deductions to the deposit.
A tenant has a legal right to sublet or assign their fixed-term Manitoba rental agreement. A landlord may approve or reject the tenant’s assignee based on their screening criteria.
You also have a right to charge the tenant for any expenses you may undergo when processing the transaction. The fee is usually a one-time administration fee of up to $75.
3. Rent Increase Manitoba
The province of Manitoba sets the official guideline for rent increases each year on January 1st. If you believe the amount for rent increase stated in the guideline is too little, you may apply to the Residential Tenancies Branch for a larger increase.
The application comes at a fee. It ranges from $150 and $500, depending on how many units are in a complex.
As a landlord, you have the right to refuse pets in your rental property. You should ensure terms regarding pets are written in your lease agreement.
5. Landlord Entry
Your tenants have a right to the quiet enjoyment of their rented premises. This means that a landlord cannot barge in on them as you like. To access the property, The Residential Tenancies Branch requires that a landlord must notify their tenants in advance.
You must give notice to your tenant of at least 24 hours and not more than 2 weeks’ written notice before entering their rented premises. Also, the entry time must be between 9AM and 8PM. The only exception to this is an emergency.
When looking to evict your tenant, you must first notify them on an appropriate form. In the notice, you must state the reason for the eviction and when the tenant has to move out.
A tenant may refuse to move out, and if this happens, you can seek the help of The Residential Tenancies Branch for an Order of Possession. There is a fee for this, usually $60. The Residential Tenancies Branch wfill then set a hearing and both parties will be given time to present their cases.
If the court rules in your favor, an Order of Possession will be granted to you. This will then be enforced by the sheriff.
Do you still require more help? If you do, Pillar Property Management can help. We’re well-versed with Manitoba landlord-tenant laws. Understanding these laws will mitigate many concerns between tenants and landlords. Helping property owners achieve peace of mind is our #1 priority.
*Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice. If you require more help, please get in touch with us.