Manitoba

Residential Tenancies Branch

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Section 2 Tenancy Agreements
Sub-Section 2.14 Tenants and Shared Utility Service
Legislation

no relevant legislation


Definitions

Mediation: a confidential process the Branch uses to encourage and help tenants and landlords discuss problems, think of possible solutions and reach their own agreements. Mediation can take place in meetings, conference calls or separate telephone conversations.

Shared utility: a tenant shares utility costs with other tenants or the landlord.

Tenancy agreement: a contract between a landlord and a tenant that sets out the basic rules for living in rental unit. It can be written, oral or implied.

Utility: a vital service like heat, gas, electricity and water.


Policy

Unless a rental unit is metered separately from other units or common areas, it is the policy of most utility companies to bill the landlord. In spite of this, the Branch recognizes that landlords and tenants make other arrangements in tenancy agreements.

For example: A tenant may agree to

  • pay for all, or part of, the utility service to common areas; or

  • share the utility costs with their landlord or other tenants.

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As long as a tenant knew what they would be paying for at the start of the tenancy, the Branch will not relieve the tenant of the responsibility to pay a share of the utility bill. However, either the tenant or the landlord may ask the Branch to determine if the tenant’s share of the bill is reasonable.

To determine this, the Branch may consider the square footage of the rental unit in relation to the total square footage of the complex and the history of consumption.

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If a tenant learns that they are paying for service which they didn’t agree to pay for, they may ask the Branch for help. The Branch may review the tenancy agreement and change the terms of it.



Procedure

Overview

When a tenant and landlord can’t agree on how to solve a shared utility service problem, they should first discuss it with the utility company. If a landlord and tenant can’t come to some agreement, they can also ask the Branch for help.


Steps ▼

1.The officer receives a complaint from either a tenant or a landlord. The officer encourages the landlord and tenant to share information, and to discuss the problem, to try to come to an agreement.

2.if they can’t agree, the officer gets information from the tenant, landlord and utility company.

3.The officer tries to help the tenant and landlord sort out the original agreement, and decide who should now be responsible for the utilities or, how much either should pay.

4.If mediation is successful, the officer puts the agreement in writing. Both the landlord and tenant get a copy.

5.If a landlord and tenant can’t agree, the officer may

    • hold a hearing; or
    • make a decision and issue an Order.


Forms & Form Letters


X-Referencing

For more information on Mediation, see Section 1.


Policy Developed

September, 1992


Last Revision


March, 2004


Other Resources

None


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