Tenant rights and landlord rights in saskatchewan

Governing or Regulatory Body

Office of Residential Tenancies (Rentalsman)

Name of Act / Regulations

  • The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006
  • The Residential Tenancies Regulations, 2007

Types of Housing/Living Arrangements Covered by the Provincial Legislation

Exclusions:

  • Residences of educational institutions
  • Special care facilities
  • Accommodations that are attached to and rented with commercial purposes
  • Hotels, motels, cottages, resort homes if rented for less than 6 consecutive months,
  • Health care facilities, personal care homes and crises shelters,
  • Farm homes rented by persons farming the land,
  • Living accommodation that includes the provision of meals, if excusive to persons 55 years of age and over. (until April 1, 2013)
  • Lifelong leases

Types of Rental Periods

A landlord and tenant can mutually agree to a fixed, periodic, month-to-month or week-to-week type tenancy.

Is a signed lease required?

A signed lease is not required for periodic leases. A fixed term lease of more than 3 months has to be in writing, must detail the date on which the tenancy expires and, must contain the provisions required by the Residential Tenancies Act. If the lease is written out, the landlord is required to give a signed copy to the tenant within a period of 20 days of when it is signed. Whether or not the lease is written, the landlord has to provide the tenant with an address for service and a telephone number, as well as a telephone number of emergency maintenance. The Standard Conditions of a Tenancy Agreement in the Residential Tenancies Regulation apply to all tenancy agreement, whether written or verbal.

Is a signed move in/move out inspection report required?

No, but it is highly recommended that both parties fill out such an inspection report together and sign it.

Deposits

Any deposits that are collected by the landlord cannot exceed one month’s rent and they can be used to cover the cost of damages to the rental property. A landlord can demand a security deposit, but only at the beginning of the tenancy. There is one exception, however, which is that a security deposit may be demanded during a tenancy if Social Services has withdrawn a guarantee provided in lieu of a security deposit. The deposit can be broken down into two installments. A landlord may require the tenants to pay up to half of the security deposit at the start of the tenancy, in the event of withdrawal of a Social Services guarantee, within 30 days of receipt of a written demand for payment. The remainder of the deposit is due within a period of not more than two months or 60 days after the tenant moves into the rental unit, or three months after receipt of the landlord’s demand in the event of withdrawal of a Social Services guarantee.

Interest can no longer be paid on security deposits if the tenancy lasts less than five years.

Key Money

It is unlawful to charge tenants key money

Post-dated Cheques

Landlords may request post-dated cheques, but tenants have no obligation to provide them.

Renewal of a Lease

Term leases always expire at the end of the set term. The landlord has absolutely no obligation to give notice to vacate at the end of the term, nor does the tenant.

Landlords are required to provide tenants with two months of advance notice when telling them whether or not they are willing to renew their lease, and if they are willing, they must provide them with the terms of the new lease. Within one month after receiving the landlord’s written notice, if the tenant decides to enter into a new tenancy agreement on the terms they have come up with, the tenant must tell the landlord this in writing. If the tenant does not provide the landlord with written notice within a period of one month, at the end of the term of the tenancy agreement the tenant must vacate the property immediately. When a fixed term tenancy expires and becomes a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord is not allowed to force tenant to sign another lease or agree to a fixed term.

When a term lease is renewed by agreement on the landlord and tenant, they may agree to change any other conditions of the lease other than those which are required by law. All of the other conditions of the lease stay exactly the same, except those that were changed as a result of the agreement.

Terminating a Tenancy (Lease): Notice and Timing

By agreement, a landlord and tenant may end the lease whenever they want.

A tenant can end a tenancy by simply giving the follow notice:

  • A minimum of one month’s rent before the day of the month on which the rent is payable for a month-to-month tenancy
  • A minimum of one week before the day of the week on which the rent is payable for a week-to-week tenancy
  • One day’s notice if the landlord is in breach of a “material” term included in the rental agreement (for example, if the unit is in a state of disrepair and considered uninhabitable). The notice that is given must provide the reason that the lease is being terminated, and if the breach can be remedied, the tenant is required to give the landlord a reasonable amount of time to fix the breach before ending the tenancy.

In addition, a landlord can end a periodic tenancy in the event that:

  • A minimum of one month before the day of the week on which rent is payable for a week-to-week tenancy.
  • Earlier upon application to the Office of Residential Tenancies.

The landlord is required to give the tenant a reasonable amount of time to fix the cause for which the tenancy is being terminated if the cause can be resolved in any way. The tenant is allowed to dispute the notice by giving notice to the landlord within a period of 15 days after receiving the landlord’s notice.

A landlord can serve notice of immediate termination whenever rent or utilities are overdue by 15 dayd or more.

All notices have to be put in writing and identify the tenant, the landlord and the property; be signed by the tenant or landlord giving the notice; provide the date the tenancy is to be terminated; and be delivered in person or by mail.

Assignments and Sublets

If a tenancy is for a fixed term, a tenant can sublet the property with the landlord's written consent, and the landlord can only withhold consent when it is considered reasonable to do so. The landlord can charge the tenant a fee of no more than $20 for considering or consenting to the sublease.

Rent Increases: Notice and Timing

Landlords are required to give one year written notice of a rent increase in the event of a periodic tenancy, unless they are a member in good standing of the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Industry Association (SRHIA), in which case the landlord can give six months’ written notice of a rent increase. If a landlord ceases to be a member in good standing of the SRHIA during the six month notice period, the notice given by the landlord will take effect after 12 months rather than six, and the landlord is required to inform the tenant of this in writing. Rent may be increases only once each year, unless the landlord is a member in good standing of the SRHIA, in which case rent can be increased twice each year.

No notice of a rent increase can be served within six months of the start of the tenancy or the date of the last increase, whichever is later.

As for mobile home sites, no notice of a rent increase can be served within 18 months of the start of the tenancy or 12 months after the last rent increase. If the landlord is a member in good standing of an approved associated of landlords, such as the SRHIA, the notice can be served 12 months after the start of the tenancy or six months after the last rent increase.

Public housing authorities as well as non-profit corporations are exempt, as rent may vary with income. Rent may not be increased during a term lease, except increases that are specified in the agreement. Tenants may apply to the Office of Residential Tenancies to enforce their rights if proper notice was not given.

Late Rent Payments

If rent has not been paid the day after the due date stated in the lease, it is considered late. The landlord can charge the tenant a fee that is also specified in the lease.

Evictions

The Act sets out reasons that can be used to evict a tenant. Some of these reasons include nonpayment of rent (all or partial as well as security deposit), too many occupants, smoking in owner-occupied home. A landlord who has a valid reason can evict a tenant who is in violation of some part of the lease, but they must give them one month’s notice (one week for week-to-week tenancies), except when the rent or utilities are overdue by 15 days or more, in which case there are grounds for immediate termination.

If the tenant objects to the notice for termination and refuses to leave, the landlord can apply to the Office of Residential Tenancies for an order of possession. The Office of Residential Tenancies will ultimately determine whether or not the notice of terminate is valid.

A landlord may request a hearing to determine whether or not the tenancy should be terminated immediately for multiple reasons, including: significant interference with other persons; serious jeopardy of health and safety of others; creating a significant risk to the property; noxious, offensive or illegal activity that is likely to cause damage, negatively affecting other tenants and violating their rights; or causing significant actual damage. Eviction may be immediate.

Notice to end a tenancy have to comply with section 63 of the Act. Approved forms are available on the website.

After a tenant has been officially evicted, a landlord can obtain an order from the Office of Residential Tenancies for unpaid rent and for the cost of repairs or other damages. The landlord can collect the money by enforcing the order through the courts. Enforcement of this order can include garnishing money and seizing property from the tenant.

Fine Points

Landlord Entry

The landlord can enter the rental property of a tenant in the event of an emergency or if the tenant agrees. Otherwise, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with 24 hours advance notice in writing for entry that takes place between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. specifying a four hour period when they will be entering the premises. If the tenant has provided a notice to terminate the lease, the landlord is allowed to show the property with the tenant’s consent, or as may be agreed in writing with the tenant or after the landlord has made a reasonable effort to give the tenant two hours advance notice.

May the tenant withhold rent for repairs?

It is not legal for tenants to withhold rent for repairs and may warrant an eviction for nonpayment of rent. If a tenant has requested that the landlord make certain repairs and the landlord has not done so, the tenant has two options other than withholding rent. The first option is to bring an application to the Office of Residential Tenancies for an order directing the landlord to do the repairs, and may call for a reduction of the rent until the repairs are completed. The second option the tenant has is to contact municipal authorities to determine if any local bylaws that set minimum standards for rental properties have been broken. If so, the tenant can ask for the property to be inspected by an official. If officials find any repairs that need to be done, an order will be issued to the landlord to fix the problems immediately.

Changing Locks

This requires the permission of both the landlord and tenant.

Pets and Smoking

Is a landlord allowed to refuse to rent to a tenant who has pets?

Yes. If pets are explicitly allowed in the rental agreement, or the agreement does not address this issue, then pets are allowed in the rental unit.

Can a landlord include a no-smoking clause in the lease?

Yes.

If there is a no pets and no smoking clause written in the lease and the landlord finds out that the tenant has a pet and/or is smoking in the unit, can the landlord legally evict the tenant?

Yes, but only if the conditions of the lease prohibit pets or smoking. In this case, keeping a pet or smoking in the rental unit would constitute a violation of the lease. The tenant must be provided with a grace period to correct the problem before a notice of termination can be given.

Other

Fire regulations, housing standards and human rights laws outside of the Residential Tenancy Act can also be applicable. Allowable restrictions or penalties in the lease are: no pets; only a certain number of people are allowed to live in the rental property/unit. The landlord may charge a reasonable fee for pets. NSF cheques or late rent payments, but it must be specified in the lease.

Contact Information

For general information about renting in Saskatchewan contact:

Office of Residential Tenancies
120 – 2151 Scarth Street
Regina, SK
S4P 2H8
Toll-free: 1-888-215-2222 (within Saskatchewan)
Toll-free fax: 1-888-867-7776 (within Saskatchewan)
Tel.: 306-787-2699
Fax: 306-787-5574
http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/ORT
See Web site for contact information for all offices.



Acts and Statutes

Consolidation of The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006
http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/english/Statutes/Statutes/R22-0001.pdf

For print versions of provincial documents contact:
Queen’s Printer
Walter Scott Building
B19 – 3085 Albert St
Regina, SK
S4S 0B1
Tel.: 306-787-6894 or
Toll Free in SK: 1-800-226-7302
Fax: 306-798-0835
Email: qprinter@gov.sk.ca
http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca

Consolidation of The Residential Tenancies Regulations, 2007
http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/english/Regulations/Regulations/R22-0001r1.pdf
(See contact for provincial documents, above.)

Office of the Residential Tenancies
Addresses, phone and fax numbers for the Office of the Residential Tenancies.
http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/ORT
(See contact for provincial documents, above.)

Information for Landlords and Tenants
A guide to the essentials of landlord and tenant legislation in the province.
http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/Information-for-Landlords-and-Tenants
(See contact for provincial documents, above.)

Security Deposit
Answers basic questions about security deposits; the information is very similar to the Landlord and Tenant FAQs page.
http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/Security-Deposits

Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA) Publications:
500 – 333 25th St E
Saskatoon SK S7K 0L4
Tel.: 306-653-1868
Fax: 306-653-1869
http://www.plea.org/

Renting a Home — Overview
Summarizes the topics in PLEA's publication, Renting a Home.
http://www.plea.org/legal_resources/?a=349&searchTxt=renting a home&cat=19&pcat=4

Renting a Home
The online guide to rental housing in the province covers the topics of entering into residential rental agreements, rights and responsibilities, rent increases, ending a rental agreement, security deposits, resolving disputes and enforcing orders.
http://www.plea.org/legal_resources/?a=355&searchTxt=renting a home&cat=19&pcat=4