The Manitoba rent guideline for 2015 has been set at 2.4 per cent, based on a new clear, transparent formula linked to the consumer price index. This announcement was made by Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux.
“We consulted extensively with renters and property managers who overwhelmingly agreed about the importance of creating a formula that would improve transparency around rent increases and create more certainty about what to expect from year to year,” Minister Lemieux said. “Linking the guideline to the consumer price index accomplishes that and maintains Winnipeg as among the most affordable major city for renters in Canada.”
Earlier this year, Manitoba passed regulations requiring the annual rent increase guideline be linked to the consumer price index (CPI) for Manitoba and fall within the Bank of Canada’s inflation-control target range. The new regulations also strengthen requirements for exemptions from rent regulation when landlords make renovations and will limit how often landlords can apply for those exemptions. The changes will also spread the cost of some improvements over a longer period, which could result in smaller rent increases.
The guideline applies to most residential rental property including apartments, single rooms, houses and duplexes. The guideline does not apply to:
- rental units renting for $1,435 or more per month as of Dec. 31, 2014;
- personal care homes;
- non-profit housing with subsidized rent;
- approved rehabilitated rental units;
- new buildings that are less than 15 years old, where an occupancy permit was first issued or a unit first occupied after April 9, 2001, or less than 20 years old, where an occupancy permit was first issued or a unit first occupied after March 7, 2005.
“By raising the rent level that allows landlords to be exempt from the guidelines to $1,435 from $1,395 per month, about 1,000 more properties will be protected from large rent increases,” Minister Lemieux said. “Manitoba is committed to an ongoing monitoring process to ensure the new CPI-based method for setting the guideline continues to provide a fair and balanced approach for renters and landlords.”
The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Winnipeg in 2014 is $751 compared with $888 in Regina, $1,087 in Calgary and $1,050 in Toronto, the minister noted. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Winnipeg in 2014 is $969 compared with $1,053 in Regina, $1,267 in Calgary and $1,241 in Toronto, he added.
Landlords can apply for an increase above the guideline if they can show the guideline will not cover cost increases they have incurred. Tenants must receive written notice of a rent increase at least three months before the increase takes effect. For example, for a rent increase to take effect Jan. 1, 2015, tenants must receive notice by Sept. 30, 2014. With few exceptions, rent can only be increased once a year.
Tenants have the right to object to any rent increase, whether it is below, at or above the guideline. Objections must be made at least 60 days before the rent increase is set to take effect.
Landlords and tenants can contact the Residential Tenancies Branch at 204-945-2476 in Winnipeg or 1-800-782-8403 (toll-free) to find out more about rent increases and other rights and responsibilities. Information, including details of how the guideline was calculated, is also available at www.manitoba.ca/rtb.