Manitoba’s New Rental Rules

by Chris on November 7, 2011

The Manitoba Rental Board has announced a number of legislative changes that affect landlords:

New Penalties

In 2009, The Residential Tenancies Act was amended to allow administrative penalties to be imposed against tenants and landlords who breach specific provisions of the Act or do not comply with certain RTB orders.

Provisions are being added to the Residential Tenancies Regulation to allow penalties to be imposed against individuals who collect excess deposits, fail to make necessary repairs to rental units when RTB orders work to be done and do not return deposits when ordered to do so.

Penalties can also be imposed for denying a tenant a right of first refusal and failing to comply with the rules for cash management for tenancies that include tenant services.

Late Payment Fees/NSF Charges

As of November 1, 2011, the daily rate for the late payment fee increased from $1.00 to $2.00 per day. When tenants do not pay their rent on time, landlords may charge a late payment fee of $10.00 for the first day the rent is due and $2.00 per day for each day the rent remains unpaid to a maximum of $100.00. When tenants’ cheques are not honoured by financial institutions after November 1, 2011, landlords are entitled to charge a maximum of $60.00 instead of the current $40.00 fee.

Costs on Compensation Orders

When RTB issues an order awarding compensation to a landlord or a tenant, the Branch may also award costs. For claims filed with the Branch on or after November 1, 2011, the costs on claim orders will increase from $55.00 to $65.00. On applications for orders of possession filed on or after November 1, 2011, the costs will go from $95.00 to $110.00. As in the past, if evidence is submitted to show that costs exceed $65.00 or $110.00, up to 10% of the amount of the compensation may be awarded.

Filing Fees for Above Guideline Rent Increase Applications

Under the current fee structure, applications for complexes with three or fewer units cost $150.00 and complexes with four or more units cost $500.00. As of November 1, 2011, the filing fees for complexes with 19 or fewer units will be set at $150.00. The application fee for complexes with 20 or more units remains the same at $500.00.

Notice to New Tenant about Condominium Status

Landlords are required to notify new tenants whether or not a rental unit is registered as a condominium. If tenants are not notified when they enter into tenancy agreements, tenants will be entitled to remain in occupancy for two years from the time they actually learn of a unit’s condominium status. To assist landlords, checkboxes regarding condominium status are included on the Standard Residential Tenancy Agreement and the Notice to New Tenant Form.

 Landlords who complete these prescribed forms correctly will comply with the requirement of the Act.

Whole Complex Rehabilitation

Effective November 1, 2011, landlords who apply for approval of a rehabilitation scheme are required to make major improvements to two components of a complex along with doing work to the rental units. The expenditures required for each exemption period are also going to be increased.

In addition, when the Residential Tenancies Branch approves a rehabilitation exemption for applications received after November 7, 2011, it will register a notice on the title of the complex to indicate that the property cannot be converted to condominium for four years after the date the Branch issues the exemption order.

Tenant Services

A new type of housing is available in the marketplace where in addition to rental units, landlords provide services like meals, light housekeeping and transportation. To allow the RTB to assist landlords and tenants to resolve any disputes regarding these new services and to create certainty for both parties, amendments to The Residential Tenancies Act relating to tenancy agreements that include the provision of tenant services will come into effect as of November 1, 2011.

Administration Fees

When landlords fail to comply with orders to repair or default on payment for utility service included in rent, RTB may order tenants to pay rent to the branch to pay contractors or utility companies. When this happens, RTB charges the landlord an administration fee. As of November 1, 2011, the administration fee will be increased from $100.00 per month per complex to $150.00 per month per complex.

Amortization Periods for Capital Expenses on Above Guideline Rent Increase Applications

Currently, the Residential Rent Regulation sets out 3 amortization periods – 1/3, 1/4 and 1/6. As of June 1, 2012, there will an additional period – 1/8. Certain items that are currently in the 1/6 category that do not improve the energy efficiency, safety or security of a building will change to 1/8. For example, when installing new roofing, if the replacement increases the energy efficiency of the complex, the cost will be included as 1/6. If energy efficiency is not increased, then only 1/8 of the cost will be allowed. The Branch will establish standards to show what will qualify as ‘energy efficient’ for the purposes of the 1/6 category. Some other capital expenses have also been moved to the 1/8 category.

For more details or if you have questions concerning these new rules, contact the Manitoba Rental Board.

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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