Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Landlord-tenant law overhaul underway

Bill gets positive reviews despite lack of details

  • Print

The Selinger government is overhauling the law governing landlords and tenants to make rent increases more predictable and transparent and to address several other long-standing grievances from both groups.

The province will also make it easier for landlords to evict dangerous lawbreakers and protect renters from needless displacement due to building renovations. And it will allow landlords to increase pet-damage deposits to new tenants in the hope more buildings will open their doors to pets.

Highlights to new rules

  • Manitoba will devise a formula, perhaps based on the consumer price index, for setting annual allowable rent increases.
  • Rules will be changed to make it easier for landlords to evict dangerous, law-breaking tenants.
  • Landlords who purposely create undesirable living conditions during building renovations to push tenants out will have to compensate them for moving costs and the increased rent.
  • The appeals process will be reformed to speed up rulings in cases where tenants have not paid their rent.
  • Landlords will be allowed to charge a higher pet-damage deposit for new tenants to encourage more landlords to allow pets.
  • The rules for granting above-guideline rental increases will be tightened and limits will be set on the amount landlords can immediately charge to pay for renovations.

Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Rondeau said Bill 40 (the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act) will enable the government, in consultation with landlords and tenants, to establish a formula to govern annual rent hikes.

The current annual government-set increase has been criticized for appearing to be purely arbitrary.

Rondeau said the government wants to establish a formula -- possibly based on the consumer price index -- for rent increases the public can readily understand.

At the same time, it will tighten requirements for above-rent guideline increases and limit the size of increases due to renovations to lessen the immediate impact on tenants.

Bill 40 generally got positive reviews from both landlords and renters on Wednesday. But the legislation itself contains few details. How it ultimately affects both sides will be determined in the crafting of the accompanying regulations.

Rondeau promised Wednesday there will be lots of consultation.

"We're going to be talking to both landlords and tenants to see what is fair," he said, in responding to questions about the proposed rent-increase formula.

Avrom Charach, spokesman for a prominent landlord group, said he was pleasantly surprised to see the province is finally looking at devising a predictable rent-increase formula.

His group has been advocating for such a move for many years. Manitoba is one of the last provinces with rent controls to adopt a clear formula for increasing rents, he said.

"If it's fair and transparent, that's what's most important," said Charach, a board member with the Professional Property Management Association, which represents owners of some 65,000 apartment and housing units in Manitoba.

Brent Mitchell, who rents in the West Broadway area, said he hopes the new rules will prevent landlords from jacking up rents sky-high after undertaking mainly cosmetic building renovations.

A common complaint from renters is landlords neglect their properties for years and then apply for rent-guideline exemptions to fix up their buildings. Some have repeatedly applied for exemptions, something the province is looking to limit.

Mitchell said he and other tenants in his building are being asked for an above-guideline increase right now.

"In our case our (hallway) carpet was deteriorating over (the) years... because nobody was shampooing it, nobody was vacuuming it. And then they replaced the whole thing and now they're asking us to pay for it," he said.

Mitchell, a member of the board of the West Broadway Community Organization, said his area has lost more than 1,000 affordable housing units in recent years due to rapidly rising rents.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 16, 2013 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: NDP Self-Destruction

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you feel prepared in case your pipes freeze this winter?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google