Tenant Protection Strengthened During Low Vacancy Rates

Jun 24, 2010 | Government News

Additional Eviction Notice Period of Two Months, Up to $500 Compensation for Moving Costs due to Renovations Among Changes:  Mackintosh 

A strategy to better protect tenants during low vacancy rates, better inform tenants and landlords about rights and financial help, encourage more pet-friendly apartments as well as increase fees to deter breaches of leases, comes into force June 30, Family Services and Consumer Affairs Gord Mackintosh announced today. 

Minister Gord Mackintosh

“With the tight rental market, these improvements will help tenants find alternate accommodations and pay for moving costs when leases are terminated for renovations.  Better information about the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords is also important to help ensure an informed rental market,” said Mackintosh. 

Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act being implemented include: 

– Five-month notice:  Additional notice for tenants when a landlord terminates a tenancy to do renovations or demolition.  If the vacancy rate is less than two per cent, five months notice is now required instead of the current three months.  Four months notice will be required when the vacancy rate is between two and three per cent and if it’s over three per cent, three months notice can be given. Vacancy rates are now below two per cent. 

– $500 moving costs:  Up to $500 in moving expenses for tenants from the landlord if the landlord ends a tenancy because the unit has been sold, is being renovated or the landlord needs to occupy the unit. 

– Notice of rights:  New tenancy forms with tenant and landlord rights, and Residential Tenancies Branch and Manitoba Shelter Benefit contact information.  Many tenants are not aware of their rights or that assistance is available.      

– Guarantor rules:  Allowing landlords to ask prospective tenants with a short or poor rental history to have a guarantor sign a guarantee agreement.  Clear disclosure in the agreement will make it easier for some people to find accommodation by encouraging individuals to be guarantors and give landlords some assurance that they will receive rental payment if the tenant is unable to fulfil their obligation. 

– Pet-friendly deposits:  A pet-friendly deposit of up to half a month’s rent to encourage more landlords to allow pets.  An action-group will look for other options to encourage more landlords to have pet-friendly policies and make recommendations to government this fall. 

– More enforcement teeth:  The Residential Tenancies Branch will have more power with authority to charge administrative penalties up to $5,000.00 for the most serious breaches where a landlord or tenant fails to follow the act or an Residential Tenancies Board ruling. 

– Deterrence of lease breaches:  Some fees for breaching a lease will increase including a $100 maximum charge for late payment of rent, which is now $65, $40 for NSF cheques. The most a landlord can charge as an administration fee for subletting or abandoning a unit before the end of a rental agreement is $75, up from $40. 

Mackintosh also announced that Sharon Blady, MLA for Kirkfield Park, has been appointed minister’s assistant for tenant issues.  She will be responsible for helping to identify other measures to assist tenants during times of low vacancy. 

Elements of the changes are part of Let’s Make a Better Deal – Manitoba’s plan for stronger consumer protection. 


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