Your landlord can usually increase your rent only once every 12 months. You must be given three months prior written notice of a proposed rent increase.
The annual rent increase guideline is the percentage that a landlord can increase your rent, without applying to The Residential Tenancies Branch for approval. The guideline limits the amount a landlord can increase rent. The Manitoba government sets the amount every year, announcing the guideline for the next year in late August or early September. The guideline takes effect on January 1 of each year and applies to increases to take effect in that calendar year. For more information about how the annual rent increase guideline is calculated, click here.
Does the guideline apply to every rental unit?
The guideline applies to most rental units, including apartments, single rooms, houses, duplexes, mobile homes and mobile home lots. There are some exceptions, such as:
The guideline also does not apply to newer rental units. If a complex was built and occupied after March 7, 2005, the units are exempt from the guideline for 20 years.
Your landlord must give you at least three months notice, in writing, before rent can be increased. The notice must tell you:
No, you can only object if your landlord applies for an increase above the guideline.
A landlord can apply to The Residential Tenancies Branch for an above the guideline increase if they can show that the guideline won’t cover their cost increases. A landlord must give the branch information to explain the need for a larger rent increase. Your landlord can only increase your rent by more than the guideline if they apply to the branch.
You can send an objection to the branch when you get your rent increase notice. You will be able to see, and comment on, the landlord’s application before the branch sets your rent. When a landlord applies for an above guideline increase, the branch considers the rent for each unit. Even if you don’t send an objection to the branch, the branch will still issue an order setting the rent on your unit.
If I sign my fixed term tenancy agreement, can I still give notice to move?
Your landlord must give you a tenancy agreement renewal at least three months before your existing agreement ends. If you want to stay in your unit after the end of your existing agreement, you must sign your new tenancy agreement and return it to your landlord at least two months before your existing agreement expires. For example, if your tenancy agreement is from January 1 to December 31, your landlord must give you a tenancy agreement renewal on, or before, September 30. You have to give your signed agreement back to the landlord on, or before, October 31.
If you do not sign your agreement and return it to your landlord, it could be assumed that you are going to move at the end of your existing agreement. If the guideline applies to your rental unit and your landlord has applied for a rent increase above the guideline, you can sign your agreement but you will still have the right to end your tenancy later, with notice of two rental payment periods. You can give notice at any time from the date you sign your agreement to 14 days after the branch or the Residential Tenancies Commission decides on your landlord’s rent increase application. The Residential Tenancies Act gives tenants this right when a landlord applies for a rent increase above the guideline.
To apply for an above guideline increase, your landlord must give the branch information on their expenses. They have to show their operating expenses (e.g., property taxes, utility bills, repair costs) and their capital expenses (e.g., how much it costs to replace the roof or to buy new appliances). These expenses are for services or things that the landlord has covered. Landlords cannot apply for an above guideline increase because they plan to do work on a residential complex or they think their operating costs might be going up. For example, if a landlord plans to re-surface the parking lot at a complex next year, they cannot apply for an above guideline increase now to cover the cost of that work.
A Residential Tenancies Branch officer checks the information your landlord gives to the branch to make sure it is complete. Sometimes, the officer may ask the landlord for more information. Once the officer has all the information, they will then send a letter inviting you to come to the branch to review the application. If you have any questions or concerns, you can give the branch your comments in writing. You can write out your comments when you look at the application or you can send them to the branch later. For example, if the landlord says they put new carpet in the hallways and you know they didn’t, let the branch know. Or, if the landlord closed the swimming pool and didn’t reduce your rent, note it and advise the branch. Since a rent increase application has your landlord’s confidential financial information, the branch is not allowed to give you copies of any of the material on file. You are allowed to make notes about the information for your own use.
After the tenants look at the file and make comments, your landlord will have a chance to see and respond to those comments. The officer then reviews all the information from the tenants and landlord and issues an order setting the rents.
The branch’s goal is to issue an order setting rent before the rent increase date, or within 90 days of receiving the rent increase application. If there is a delay, you must pay the proposed rent your landlord showed on your Notice of Increase in Rent. If the branch issues an order that sets your rent at a lower amount, The Residential Tenancies Act requires your landlord to refund your rent overpayment. Your landlord may give you a cheque for the overpayment or allow you to deduct the amount from your next month’s rent.
The branch considers:
The order setting the rent includes an explanation, so both the landlord and tenants will know how the officer arrived at the decision.
Not necessarily. A landlord can choose how to distribute a rent increase among their tenants. They can ask that each tenant receive an equal dollar rent increase (e.g., each tenant’s rent is increased by $10 a month) or that each tenant receive a rent increase of an equal percentage (e.g., each tenant receives a three per cent rent increase).
You can appeal the order by filing a written appeal to the Residential Tenancies Commission. There is no charge to file this kind of appeal. The Commission will set up a hearing to consider your appeal. After the hearing, the Commission will issue an order setting your rent. The Commission’s order is final.