You should know the latest changes to the Saskatchewan Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. The most recent changes apply to written tenancy agreements, security deposits, landlord’s right of access, rent increases, ending a tenancy and disputing a notice to vacate.
NOTICE OF CHANGES TO LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS
THE RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT, 2006
Amendments to The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 will come into effect June 1, 2009. These are in conjunction with other changes that came into effect December 12, 2008.
The changes that were effective December 12, 2008, can be summarized as follows:
Rent increase notices for periodic rents (i.e. month to month) come into effect six (6) full calendar months after being served.
- Rent increase notices can only be served after six (6) months from the date the last notice was served.
- In a fixed term tenancy (six months, one year, etc.), which must be in writing, the rent can only be changed during the term of the lease if it is specified in the lease when and how much (dollar or percentage).
The changes that will come into effect June 1, 2009 are as follows:
A. SECURITY DEPOSITS
1. SECURITY DEPOSIT HANDLING FOR MONIES HELD BY LANDLORD
At end of a tenancy, the tenant should provide the landlord with a forwarding address.
If they do, the landlord must send the NOTICE TO TENANT OF CLAIM FOR SECURITY DEPOSIT, which will be available on our website and at our offices, to the tenant, outlining any claim, within seven (7) business days of the end of the tenancy, advising the tenant that they wish to keep all or any of the security deposit. Any amount not claimed by the landlord should be paid to the tenant at that time. The tenant should immediately apply to the Office of Residential Tenancies for a hearing if they disagree. Both parties will be notified of the hearing place, date and time. The landlord is required to submit the disputed security deposit to the Office of Residential Tenancies.
If the tenant does not provide any forwarding address, the landlord is not obligated to take any further steps and may take the security deposit out of trust thirty (30) days after the end of the tenancy.
The tenant still has 120 days from the end of the tenancy to dispute the security deposit in both situations.
If a landlord does not follow the proper process, the tenant can apply, without any hearing, for an order that the security deposit should be returned to them. As well, if it appears that the landlord without any valid reason, failed to follow the process, the landlord may be obligated to pay the tenant’s costs.
2. SECURITY DEPOSIT PROCESS FOR GUARANTEES OF THE SECURITY DEPOSIT BY THE MINISTRY OF SOCIAL SERVICES
The landlord submits the NOTICE OF CLAIM FOR SOCIAL SERVICES GUARANTEE, which will be available on our website and at our offices, which provides the basic claim, to the Office of Residential Tenancies within seven (7) business days of the end of the tenancy. If the form is submitted in time, it will be forwarded to the Ministry of Social Services and the tenants, if possible, will be provided with a copy of the application and claim. The tenant will be given a limited opportunity by the Ministry of Social Services to advise the Office of Residential Tenancies that the tenant disputes the claim.
- If a dispute is filed, a hearing will be arranged.
- If no dispute is filed within the time period imposed by the Ministry of Social Services, the Ministry will then normally provide the guarantee to the landlord.
- A tenant still has 120 days from the end of the tenancy to dispute the claim and have a hearing and the landlord would have to pay any guarantee received from the Ministry of Social Services into the Office of Residential Tenancies.
B. DISPUTE OF EVICTION
Tenants will provide dispute notices (new Forms 8(a) and (b)) to landlords in all cases where the landlord wishes to evict a tenant, including such situations as the property being sold, renovated or turned into a condominium. The Landlord applies for a hearing.
C. EVICTIONS FOR NUISANCE, DISTURBANCE, ILLEGAL ACTIVITY, DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY
A landlord may apply, without warning, for a hearing at the Office of Residential Tenancies to evict a tenant for the above reasons. If it appears that it is necessary to evict immediately, an eviction order may be issued. If the situation does not show a need to evict immediately but that the tenancy should end, a hearing officer may provide An eviction order on a fixed date without requiring the landlord to take further proceedings.
NOTE: The approved forms that you need because of these changes, and for any other processes mandated by the Act, can be obtained from the Office of Residential Tenancies, or downloaded at http://www.justice.gov.sk.ca/ort.
Office of Residential Tenancies
|Regina: 120 – 2151 Scarth St., S4P 2H8General Inquiry Line: …………………787-2699
Specific inquiry on your application
(please provide application #) ….787-0719
Fax: …………787-5574 or 1-888-867-7776
|Saskatoon: 105 – 122 Third Ave No.,S7K 2H6
General Inquiry Line: …………………933-5680
Specific inquiry on your application
(please provide application #): .933-5683
Fax:………………933-7030 or 1-888-867-7776
Summary of The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006
Application of Act
§ Residential property in Saskatchewan, not located on federal land
§ Includes any tenancy agreement with a person under 18 years of age
§ Includes most “room and board” arrangements
§ An agreement whereby the living accommodations and a business are located together and under a single agreement
§ Hotel, motel, resort, cottage, bed and breakfast if rented for less than six consecutive months
§ Living accommodations provided by educational institutions to students and staff
§ YMCA, YWCA and Salvation Army
§ Rental units in complexes for persons fifty five years of age and older where meals are provided
§ Where lease for a term twenty years or over and Life leases
§ Crisis or emergency shelters
§ Hospitals, treatment centres, personal care homes
§ Farm acreage if the person is farming the property
§ Parties cannot agree that the Act or parts thereof or benefits don’t apply. Any part of a tenancy agreement that contradicts the Act is not enforceable.
§ The common law of contract applies to the relationship between the parties.
§ A landlord cannot seize the property of a tenant under any circumstances, but can obtain an order to dispose of abandoned property
§ The tenancy agreement is in force even if the tenant does not take possession on the commencement date.
§ A tenant should pay rent even if there are problems with the rental property or tenancy agreement and try to settle with the landlord or apply for a hearing at the Office of Residential Tenancies
§ A landlord cannot stop providing any services or facilities or start charging fees for them unless they obtain an order from the Office of Residential Tenancies allowing them to do so.
§ A tenant has the right to privacy and no unreasonable disturbance from the landlord or the landlord’s other tenants
§ Neither landlord or tenant can change the locking systems without the other’s permission
§ Landlords and tenants must maintain the property in a state of proper cleanliness and repair and comply with health and safety laws.
§ A tenant can only assign or sublet the rental unit under a fixed term tenancy with the permission of the landlord, which cannot be unreasonably withheld, and the tenant still remains liable for any losses or damages for the balance of the fixed term
§ A non-resident landlord has to appoint an attorney in the province for the purpose of service of notices. The attorney can be any adult, resident in Saskatchewan.
§ A landlord can make an application for an order to dispose of abandoned property after they have tried to get the tenant to retrieve their property or the tenant cannot be found. The landlord may deduct the costs of disposition and any amounts they think owing to them.
§ A landlord cannot interfere with the sale of a mobile home.
Can be written, verbal or implied.
Standard Conditions are considered conditions of every residential tenancy agreement, written, verbal or implied. The Standard Conditions highlight the more important requirements of the Act but do not replace the provisions of the Act nor do they affect the application of any other parts of the Act not contained in the Standard Conditions. They must be attached to every written agreement and it is recommended that they be provided to a tenant with every verbal or implied agreement.
Written Tenancy Agreements must include:
§ Standard Conditions
§ Correct legal names of parties
§ Address of the property
§ Date agreement reached
§ Service address and telephone number of landlord or agent and emergency contact number if not those numbers
§ Commencement date; periodic term (whether weekly, monthly or other); if fixed term state end date; amount of rent and whether it varies with the number of occupants and if so, how much; day of period that rent is to be paid by; who pays utilities; what services and facilities are provided; amount of any security deposit and when to be paid.
§ A copy of the signed tenancy agreement must be provided to the tenant within 20 days.
§ Service and emergency addresses and telephone numbers must be provided to the tenant within 20 days, even for verbal and implied tenancy agreements
§ Tenants can withhold rent if the written lease is not provided or if service address and numbers are not provided until such time as provided.
§ In multi-unit residences landlords must post their name, service address and telephone number (or that of an agent) in a conspicuous place
§ A fixed term tenancy of three months or longer must be in writing.
§ Agreements or parts of an agreement can only be changed by the agreement of both parties. The one exception is a notice to increase the rent.
§ A landlord cannot charge for processing any application to rent.
§ •Payable ½ on entering tenancy and ½ two months later
§ •Up to one month’s rent
§ •Make sure they are held in trust accounts
§ •To be able to retain the deposit, a landlord must, within 7 business days from the end of lease, either 1) obtain a written consent of the tenant at the end of the tenancy or, 2) make an application to the Office of Residential Tenancies; a tenant may be entitled to the deposit if this is not followed
Landlord’s Right of Access
A landlord cannot enter a rental unit unless:
§ •A tenant provides consent at time of entry
§ •24 hours written notice not more than 7 days before intended entry giving reason for entry and date and time which must be within a 4-hour period, between 8 to 8
§ •The tenant has apparently vacated or abandoned the rental unit; or
§ •An emergency poses a threat to the safety of people or property.
§ If a tenant has given notice to end the tenancy, the landlord may enter to show prospective tenants if:
–they have given at least 2 hours notice, or
– the tenant has provided a telephone or e-mail address and is given two-hours notice in that manner, or
the landlord leaves a notice for the tenant at the entrance that the landlord has entered the unit for the purpose of showing it, when the tenant does not provide a telephone number or email address or the landlord is not able to contact the tenant by those means, after reasonable attempts to do so.
§ If a landlord wishes to show the rental unit to prospective purchasers it must be by consent or 24-hour notice.
§ •Must be in writing a full six calendar months before it comes into effect and can only be served after six months from the beginning of the tenancy or the last time a rent increase notice was served.
§ •A six full calendar months period if an owner occupied mobile home
Ending a Tenancy
A tenancy ends if:
§ proper notice is provided and not disputed by the tenant
§ landlord and tenant agree in writing
§ tenant vacates or abandons and landlord retakes possession
§ circumstances beyond the control of either party (e.g., fire destroying unit)
§ The Office of Residential Tenancies orders the tenancy ended
§ for a fixed term tenancy, on the end date in the agreement
§ there is a very serious breach of the agreement by the landlord and the landlord has been given notice and an opportunity, if possible, to fix the problem
Tenant must give a written notice no later than the last day of the preceding period but may also depend on the tenancy agreement. A more immediate notice may be given if a serious breach of the agreement.
§ May terminate a tenancy immediately by serving notice if rent more than 15 days behind; any utilities unpaid for 15 days after landlord gives notice to pay are treated as rent arrears; if landlord accepts payment of all arrears before any hearing, tenancy continues
§ A landlord may apply for an order for possession immediately if there is significant:
– interference/disturbance with others living around or the landlord or serious jeopardy to the health and safety of the same people
– property is put at risk
– noxious, offensive or illegal acts that may cause the same risks
– caused extraordinary damage
– the landlord does not have to provide any warning notice in the above situations and may proceed directly to applying for a hearing and an order.
§ A landlord must otherwise have one of the following reasons before serving at least a one calendar month’s notice, after giving a notice and reasonable time to correct, if possible:
– security deposit remains unpaid over 30 days
– tenant repeatedly late in paying rent
– unreasonable number of occupants
– the tenant/guests disturbed, jeopardized health or safety of others living around them or the landlord or put landlord’s property at significant risk or engaged in a noxious, offensive or illegal act on the property that may cause damage to property, effect the privacy rights or safety of the landlord or others living nearby
– tenant/guest have caused extraordinary damage to the property
– tenant fails to repair after a reasonable time and after being given notice
– tenant has breached a material provision of the agreement
– assignment or sublet of rental agreement without landlord’s written consent
– tenant giving false information about rental property to prospective renters or purchasers
– in order to comply with any order of a government agency
– breach of a necessary term for a public social housing landlord
– tenant doesn’t comply with an order from the Office of Residential Tenancies
– any reason the Residential Tenancies Office judges proper
– owner occupied home and tenant/guest continues to smoke after being asked to stop
§ Notice must be in writing and served by at least the last day of preceeding period.
§ Tenant may dispute notice to landlord within 15 days or otherwise is deemed to have accepted the notice and must vacate as specified.
§ Landlord may end a tenancy of an employee who resides in the unit due to the employment as a caretaker/manager on ending the employment. Notice is effective after 30 days. Tenant/employee may dispute within 15 days or is deemed to have accepted.
§ If landlord intends that a close family member or friend will live in the property or to sell the property or intends to demolish, renovate/repair, convert to condominiums/housing co-op or to non-residential use for periodic tenancies must give notice at least by the end of the preceding month. Tenant can dispute within 15 days or deemed to have accepted. The tenant can end the tenancy earlier. A landlord can be held liable for damages if the intended use does not happen
§ in writing
§ dated and identify party giving notice
§ state address of rental unit
§ effective date of end of tenancy
§ state grounds for ending tenancy
– if not served in proper time, notice becomes effective at the end of the next possible period
Order of Possession
§ A landlord cannot regain possession unless the tenant vacates or abandons the unit or the landlord obtains an order for possession and writ of possession directed to the Sheriff from the Office of Residential Tenancies and the Sheriff turns over possession.
§ If tenant gives a notice disputing the request to end the tenancy, the landlord may make an application for an order for possession from the Office of Residential Tenancies.
§ The landlord may make an application for an order for possession if:
§ tenant has given notice to end the tenancy and doesn’t vacate
§ tenant has not disputed any notice to end the lease
§ the term of a fixed term tenancy is ended
§ any other circumstances the Office of Residential Tenancies considers reasonable
§ The Sheriff may evict tenants if they do not leave after an order is provided.
Applications and Orders
§ Any dispute over a residential tenancy must be made to the Office of Residential Tenancies. An application must be completed and presented to the Office of Residential Tenancies along with the required fee, if any
§ The fees to file an application are as follows:
1. $50 a hearing/order for:
– any claims less than $5,000 and
· any order for possession;
2. $50 for any claims from $5,000 to $10,000.
3. any applicant who is on social assistance or in receipt of any federal government income
supplement will not have to pay any fee.
4. a tenant application for a return of security deposit to remain at 0.
§ The applicant for an order will normally be provided with a hearing notice that they are to serve on the other party. A hearing is held and an order provided that is considered just and equitable. A party can make their representation in person, by telephone or in writing.
§ In an application by a landlord for an order for possession, a tenant can ask the Office of Residential Tenancies not to make an order if the landlord gave the notice because the tenant made a fair complaint to an authority, the tenants were trying to secure their rights, the landlord has contravened the agreement or any standard condition or based on a rent increase given solely to enable the landlord to end the tenancy.
§ Only claims $10,000 and under may be dealt with by the Office of Residential Tenancies. You can sue for an amount over that limit at our office but you would have to waive any award over $10,000. This means that you could not sue for that excess amount in any other Court or forum.
§ Any clerical or typographical errors can be corrected or clarification of an order made without appealing. Any obvious error (not a dispute over a difference over finding of fact) or inadvertent omission can also be corrected without appeal. The corrections can be made at the request of the parties or the hearing officer. Any request must be made within 15 days of the order.
§ Any appeal to any decision is to be made to the Court of Queen’s Bench within 30 days of the order on a question of law or jurisdiction. Forms may be obtained from the Court of Queen’s Bench nearest to the property. Any order is suspended on filing the appeal and pending the outcome of the appeal.
§ An order can be registered with the Court of Queen’s Bench after the appeal period has passed
§ Any notices required by the Act that must be served, except for notices for hearings which will have instructions with them, must be in writing unless otherwise stated and can be served as follows:
– on a tenant by personal service or by posting the document on the door of the tenant and mailing the document
– on a landlord by personal service on the landlord or their agent or by ordinary mail to the address provided by the landlord
- Ordinary mail is deemed received 3 days after posting
- Notices to be served on a landlord where no address or valid attorney may be served on the Office of Residential Tenancies.
- If service was not affected properly, it can be considered served if it is known to have come to the attention of the party to be served
- If it can be shown that not served, a party can ask for a rehearing
- There are different processes for various types of applications and except
- for a tenant application for the return of a security deposit, they all begin with the same application form.
Office of Residential Tenancies: www.justice.gov.sk.ca/ORT
120-2151 Scarth Street, 105-122 3rd Avenue North,
Regina, SK, S4P 2H8 Saskatoon, SK, S7K 2H6
306-787-5574 (fax) 306-933-7030 (fax)
Toll Free # 1-888-215-2222, Toll Free Fax 1-888-867-7776 , within Saskatchewan
Please make sure you read the whole Act and Regulations to make yourself aware of all of its provisions, as this document is not all inclusive of the requirements. This document is an information guide only and not legal advice and the law may change from time to time or be subject to a different interpretation by the Courts, contrary to what might be stated in this document. You should consult a lawyer for any questions.
Be a boy scout and BE PREPARED.