Section 2 Tenancy Agreements
Sub-Section 2.7 Reasonable Rules

s. 11, 17, 29.1,29.2,75, 75.1,96(1)(c), The Residential Tenancies Act
s. 1, 9,16, Human Rights Code
The City of Winnipeg Fire Prevention By-law No. 150/2004
Manitoba Fire Code
Local fire prevention by-laws apply


Liability insurance: financial protection for a person, in case they are found responsible for damage or personal injury.

Pet damage deposit: is money a tenant pays to a landlord before bringing a pet into a rental unit. A pet damage deposit can’t be more than one month’s rent. The landlord holds the money until the tenant moves out. When a tenancy ends, a landlord may claim the pet damage deposit for damage or cleaning costs the landlord suffers because of the tenant’s pet.

Service animal: an animal that has been trained to provide assistance to a person with a disability that relates to that person’s disability.


In the Residential Tenancies Regulation, there is a prescribed form called "Standard Residential Tenancy Agreement." The standard agreement has certain rules in it which are considered reasonable. For example: The tenant agrees to use the rental unit and residential complex for residential use only.

In addition to the rules in the standard agreement, a landlord may set their own house rules. Any additional or house rules not spelled out in the standard tenancy agreement must be put in writing. A landlord should make a rule as clear as possible. If a landlord wants tenants to avoid certain behaviour, the landlord should be specific in their rules. Both the landlord and tenant must have a copy of the rules.


Although a landlord may choose not to enforce a rule at present, it doesn’t prevent them from enforcing the rule in the future. However, a landlord must ensure that they treat all tenants equally in order to be fair.


If a tenant breaches a reasonable rule, the landlord may be able to give the tenant notice to move. The landlord would first need to give the tenant an opportunity to comply with the rule.


The Branch may decide if a rule is reasonable, but only after receiving information from both the landlord and the tenants. The Branch would likely hold a hearing to consider this type of issue.


A landlord can change or add rules during the tenancy. If the rule change is significant, the landlord should give the tenants reasonable notice of the change. In some cases, when a landlord changes or adds a rule, it may create undue hardship for a tenant or tenants. If this happens, the tenant can ask the Branch to decide if the change or addition is reasonable.

Here are some examples of common reasonable rules:

A landlord can refuse to allow tenants, living in a residential complex, to use barbecues. This rule is reasonable because of the risk of fire.

Christmas Trees
A landlord can refuse to allow tenants, living in a residential complex, to have real Christmas Trees. This rule is reasonable because of the risk of fire and because real trees can create a mess in the common hallways when tenants bring them in or out of the building.

Garage or Yard Sales
A tenant should get the landlord’s permission before having a yard, garage or apartment sale. A landlord may refuse to allow a tenant to have a yard, garage or apartment sale because of the potential damage or disturbance it could cause. Or, they can set guidelines for where and when tenants can have the sale. These rules may vary. For example: It is not unreasonable for a landlord of a multi-family unit like a four-plex to refuse to allow a yard sale, particularly if all tenants have use of the common areas. It is not unreasonable for a landlord to refuse to allow an apartment sale in a residential complex that offers tenants the protection of a security system.

Generally, a landlord can’t insist that a tenant carry liability insurance as a condition of tenancy. The Branch recommends that tenants consider buying a tenant’s insurance package for their own protection. In certain circumstances, it may be reasonable for a landlord to require a tenant to carry liability insurance (e.g. if a tenant has a waterbed, a large aquarium or a portable washer).

A landlord can refuse to allow tenants to have pets. Or, they can set general guidelines for the kind of pets tenants can have. For example: Small breed dogs or cats may be allowed. Landlords who choose to allow pets in their buildings can ask tenants who have pets to pay a pet damage deposit.

Landlords can change their "pet rules". If a landlord brings in a new "no pet rule", tenants who were allowed pets under the old rules can keep them, but can’t replace them.


The Human Rights Code does not allow landlords to refuse to rent to someone who needs a service animal. Service animals are not pets. A tenant who needs a service animal is not breaking a "no pets" rule in a tenancy agreement. Landlords cannot charge a pet damage deposit for tenants who rely on a service animal.

Tenants who have service animals are responsible for their behaviour. A tenant must make sure that their service animal does not disturb or intimidate other tenants.

Rent Payments
A landlord may set rules on where and how they will accept rent from tenants. A landlord must give their tenants written notice of the address where the tenants are expected to pay rent. A tenant is responsible to ensure that they deliver their rent to that address. A landlord can’t refuse to accept cash at that address, since cash is legal tender. A landlord may allow tenants to pay rent at other places too. If they do this, they can put conditions on how the tenants can pay the rent. For example: If a tenant pays their rent at the address the landlord gave them, the landlord must accept cash or other legal tender, like a money order. The landlord may say that the manager or caretaker is not authorized to accept cash for security reasons. But, the landlord may allow the tenant to give a cheque or money order to the on-site manager or caretaker.


If a financial institution did not honour a tenant’s previous rent cheque, a landlord can tell a tenant that, in future, they will only accept cash, certified cheque or money order for rent.

Satellite Dishes
A tenant must get the landlord’s permission before installing any satellite dish or other equipment in the rental unit or residential complex.

A landlord may refuse to allow a tenant to have a waterbed because of the potential damage it could cause. A landlord who allows a tenant to have a waterbed may require the tenant to have a tenant’s insurance policy. The landlord may ask the tenant for proof that the tenant purchased the necessary insurance. The landlord can also ask the tenant to show that they’ve renewed the policy each year.

Water Bills
If a tenant is responsible to pay the water bill under the terms of their tenancy agreement, the landlord can ask a tenant to take regular water meter readings to ensure that the water bills are actual and not estimated. This rule is reasonable since The City of Winnipeg may apply an unpaid water bill to a landlord’s property taxes.



This policy is included as information for landlords, tenants and officers. If tenants and landlords aren’t able to solve a problem with reasonable rules on their own, they can ask the Branch for help.

Steps ▼

1.The officer encourages the landlord and tenant to share information, and to discuss the problem, to try to come to an agreement.

2.When a landlord or tenant asks the Branch for help with a problem about reasonable rules, the appropriate officer follows the procedures for:

Forms & Form Letters


For more information on mediation, see Section 1.
For details on notices of termination, see Section 7.

Policy Developed

September, 1992*

Last Revision

May, 2015

Other Resources




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