Tenant Rights Manitoba: Security Deposit Laws

The Manitoba Tenancy Act includes provisions for both landlords and tenants. A Manitoba landlord can require a security deposit from their tenant. Doing so helps cushion them against a myriad of financial liabilities. For example:

Unpaid utilities when a tenant is moving out. Tenants are usually responsible for paying for different services and facilities. If they move out without paying them, you can make deductions to their services security deposit.
Excessive property damage. Any damage exceeding normal wear and tear is excessive damage. In such a case, you’d be within your rights to claim part or all of the tenant’s security deposit.
Lost rental income. A lease obligates a tenant to pay rent for the entire period they will be living there. So, if a tenant, say, breaks a lease or abandons the unit, you may also be able to claim part of their deposit as compensation.
Loss in rent payments. Life happens, and a tenant may become unable to continue paying you rent. Should this situation occur, you may be entitled to part or all of the tenant’s deposit.
Excessive cleaning costs. Most Manitoba rental agreements usually obligate a tenant to leave the rented premises in a clean state. Ideally, the same way they found it when they were moving in. If they don’t, then you may have a right to claim part or all of their deposit.

Here’s a basic overview of the Manitoba landlord and tenant security deposit laws.
Tenant rights Manitoba inlcude provisions regarding security deposits

Manitoba Security Deposit Laws

Security Deposit Limit

Is there a limit to how much landlords in Manitoba can charge tenants as security deposit? Yes!

Being a landlord in Manitoba, you are required to charge no more than half of the first month’s rent as a security deposit. So, if the rent is, say, $2,000, then the most you can ask as security deposit shouldn’t exceed $1,000.

Upon receipt of the deposit, you must notify your tenant of the same. In the notice, you must state the amount received, the date it was received, and the rental unit for which it was given.

Provision of Certain Services

Do you provide your tenants certain services and facilities? Examples include laundry facilities, security services and facilities, intercom systems, elevator facilities, and storage facilities.

If so, you may be able to require them to pay you a services security deposit. As per the Manitoba tenancy laws, the tenant services security deposits must not exceed more than half the monthly rent.

You must also notify the tenant upon receipt of their deposit. In the notice, you must state the amount received, the date received, and the rental unit for which it was given.

As a landlord, it’s also within your right to increase the tenant services security deposit. You may do so in the event:

• An extra person starts living with the tenant, or
• You decide to increase the charges for the services and facilities.

In either case, the tenant services security deposit must not exceed half the new monthly tenant services charge which is payable under the Manitoba rental agreement.

Pet Damage Deposit

Do you allow pets into your rental unit? If so, you may require such tenants to pay a deposit prior to moving in. It can be as much as the one month’s rent. You should include this amount in your Manitoba tenancy agreement.

And like other deposits, you must notify your tenant of its receipt. In the notice, you must state the amount received, date it was received, and the rental unit for which it was given.

Regardless of the number of pets a tenant has, you must not ask more than one pet damage.

And take note that you cannot charge a pet damage deposit for tenants who rely on service animals.
Manitoba rental agreements should clearly state security deposit requirements

Return of the Tenant’s Security Deposit

You must return the deposit to the tenant within 14 days if you don’t have a claim against it. If there is more than one tenant, then you can make one cheque payable to all tenants. Unless, of course, stated otherwise by the tenants.

If you aren’t sure who to give the deposit to, you may seek the assistance of the Manitoba Tenancy Branch. The Manitoba Tenancy Branch will then help you find a solution by carrying out its own investigation.

However, in case you have made a claim to the deposit, then you must let the tenant know of the same within 28 days. You must send the notice to the tenant’s last known address, including the unclaimed deposit and accrued interest.

If you are unable to return the deposit to the tenant for whatever reason, you must forward the deposit to the Manitoba Tenancy Branch. The Manitoba Tenancy Branch handles many of the landlord and tenant affairs in Manitoba. The tenant may then ask for return of their deposit from the Branch through an application.

Both you and your tenant may agree in writing regarding a claim against the deposit. The agreement is legally binding once signed by both parties. In such a case, the tenant cannot later go to the Manitoba Tenancy Brand claiming the agreement is unfair. The only exception is if the tenant proves that they were forced into signing it.

Sale of the Rental Property

In case the property changes hands during a tenancy, then the incoming landlord becomes responsible for the tenant’s deposit. And this is regardless of whether the outgoing landlord transferred the deposits to his account.

The incoming landlord may try to recover the deposits from the outgoing landlord. However, if they are unable to, they can ask the Manitoba Tenancy Brand for help. The Manitoba Tenancy Brand will then use the procedures set out in Enforcing an Order to recover the tenant’s deposits.

The outgoing landlord remains responsible for deposits of any tenants who moved out prior to the incoming one taking over.
Manitoba landlord and tenant laws are upheld by the Manitoba tenancy branch

Do you still have a question that you feel was left unanswered? If so, Pillar Property Management can help. Founded in 2006, Pillar Property Management is a one-stop shop for all Winnipeg landlords’ property management needs.

Disclaimer: This blog is only meant to be informational and is in no way a substitute for professional legal advice.

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