Rent control, in place in Manitoba since 1976, is a provincial regulation restricting the amount of rent a building owner can charge tenants. It was originally designed as a policy tool to place tenants’ needs above property owners’ profits during tough economic times.
The vacancy rate for apartments in Winnipeg has dropped steadily over the past decade, as has the number of residential apartment units available.
Currently under the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants must be given proper written notice at least three months before the rent increase takes effect. A notice to increase rent must meet the requirements of The Residential Tenancies Act. The branch provides rent increase forms for landlords to use. In most circumstances, rents can only be increased once a year. The guideline applies to rented residential apartments, single rooms, houses and duplexes.
There are some exceptions to the guideline. These are:
- Premises renting for $,000 or more per month as of Dec. 31, 2004
- Personal care homes
- Approved rehabilitated rental units
- New buildings less than 15 years old where an occupancy permit was first issued or a unit was first occupied after April 9, 2001
The rent control policy in Manitoba has resulted in increased demand for dwindling supply. Vacancy rates in Manitoba are well below the Canadian average.
Construction of new residential rental apartment buildings in Manitoba has been virtually non-existent over the past 20 years.
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Recommendations:
- Abolish rent controls, which do not offer any incentive for the private sector to invest in developing residential rental units and which limit the availability of safe, affordable and quality housing.
- Establish a long-term economic strategy for the province, which would include a long-term housing strategy.
- Urge the government to publicly review the issue of rent control in Manitoba.
Adopted by The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce board of directors, January 2005