Renters will continue to have access to affordable homes under the 2013 rent increase guideline, which has been set at one per cent, Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Rondeau announced today.  The change will take effect Jan. 1, 2013.

“We understand how stressful it can be for students, seniors and low-income families to make ends meet.  Rent guidelines help ensure fairness for renters and property owners by taking into account things like the cost of utilities, property taxes and other expenses involved in operating rental housing,” Rondeau said.

The guideline applies to most residential rental properties including apartments, single rooms, houses and duplexes.  It does not apply to:

* units renting for $1,140 or more per month as of Dec. 31, 2012;

* personal-care homes;

* non-profit housing with subsidized rent;

* approved rehabilitated rental units; and

* new buildings that are less than 15 years old, where an occupancy permit was first issued or a unit first occupied after April 9, 2001; or  less than 20 years old, where an occupancy permit was first issued or a unit first occupied after March 31,  2005.

Landlords can apply for an increase above the guideline if they can show the increase will not cover costs they have incurred for the property.

Tenants must receive written notice of a rent increase at least three months before the increase takes effect.  For example, for a rent increase to take effect Jan. 1, 2013, tenants must receive notice by Sept. 30, 2012.  With few exceptions, rent can only be increased once a year.

Tenants have the right to object to any rent increase whether it is below, at or above the guideline.  Objections must be made at least 60 days before the rent increase is set to take effect.

Landlords and tenants can contact the Residential Tenancies Branch at 204-945-2476 or 1-800-782-8403 (toll-free) to find out more about rent increases and other rights and responsibilities.  Information is also available at www.manitoba.ca/rtb.