New regulations aimed toward making rent increases more predictable for renters and reducing paperwork for landlords have been developing over the last two years and are finally taking effect.
Officially enacted on August 1, Manitoba's Residential Tenancies Act provides numerous benefits for renters and landlords alike. Both were consulted during the process of bringing the bill to fruition to ensure adequate transparency and candor for both parties involved. The changes will address some of the long-standing issues that landlords and tenants have been facing, particularly in recent years.
The portion of this act that specifically benefits renters in the province largely involves the way in which Manitoba's basic annual rent increase is to be calculated. Annual increases are now based on the Consumer Price Index for Manitoba, and they are required to fall within the Bank of Canada's inflation-control target range. These new regulations state that landlords must compensate tenants for moving expenses and higher rents that occur with significant renovations, especially those that result in a major inconvenience or that have been designed to drive tenants out of the property.
Government officials in Manitoba believe regulatory changes that will come into effect January 1, 2015 will strengthen the requirements needed for exemptions from these rent regulations due to renovations, and they will also limit how often landlords are able to apply for exemptions. The changes will also spread the cost of certain improvements across a longer period of time, which is expected to result in smaller rent increases.
The changes outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act will give landlords the ability to evict tenants who break the law if it impacts the security and well-being of other tenants — or if it causes serious damage to the property itself. Adjustments to appeals processes have also been made, with the goal of enabling landlords to act faster on rulings in which tenants have not paid their rent.
Landlords will also be allowed to charge higher pet damage deposits for new tenants. Although this may seem like a setback to renters, the rule was implemented to prompt more landlords to allow pets in their properties, making it easier for renters with pets to find adequate places to live in the future.
With the new Residential Tenancies Amendment Act providing some key benefits to landlords and tenants, we should see some improvements in rental processes and perhaps a decrease in the number of landlord-tenant disputes that arise.