If you’re moving into your first apartment, immigrating to Canada or moving to another region of the country, it’s essential to learn the rental laws that apply to your area before you settle into your new dwelling. That’s right, as a tenant, you may not have the same rights and responsibilities from one province or territory to the next.
For instance, if you’re moving to a city like Saskatoon, you’ll be subject to different rental laws than in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. Read this to learn what the rights and responsibilities of a tenant are in Saskatchewan.
Responsibilities Of A Tenant In Saskatchewan
Like in every province or territory, Saskatchewan landlords have certain obligations they must follow to legally rent out their property. However, as a tenant, you also have responsibilities toward the landlord, including:
- Paying your rent and utility bills on time and in full
- Respecting your landlord, neighbors and rental property
- Avoiding damage or non-permitted modifications to your unit
- Paying to repair serious damages that you or your guests have caused
- Avoiding illegal/harmful activities or other expressly forbidden actions
- Maintaining your unit according to the landlord’s rules (cleaning, etc.)
- Buying rental insurance (if required in your lease conditions)
- Getting the landlord’s permission before having other renters in your unit
What Should Be Included In A Rental Lease In Saskatchewan?
In Saskatchewan, a rental lease or tenancy agreement can be:
- Periodic (monthly, weekly, etc.)
- Fixed-term (a specific beginning and termination date)
If your rental term is fixed, the landlord must give you a written and signed copy of the tenancy agreement within 20 days, unless the term is 3 months or less. On the other hand, no agreement is required for periodic rental terms but it’s a good idea to ask your landlord for some sort of written proof that you’re agreeing to be a tenant.
Before you sign your lease agreement, make sure it includes these components:
- Parties to the Agreement – The agreement should have the rental address, along with the names, addresses and contact details of the tenant and landlord.
- Rental Term(s) – Additionally, it should list the start and end dates of your rental term, as well as the type of lease you’re agreeing to (fixed-term, periodic, etc.).
- Rent Amount – The amount the landlord is charging in rent, your payment due dates and payment method (cash, etc.) should also be featured.
- Appliances & Utilities – This refers to the landlord’s list of included items and services, like an oven, refrigerator, washer/dryer, heating and electricity.
- Security Deposit – While some landlords don’t require a deposit, they should feature the amount in the agreement if it’s part of their conditions.
- Condition of Rental Unit – Both parties must agree to inspect the unit before and after you move out. It’s also the landlord’s duty to provide you with a clean, well-maintained unit and your duty to return the unit and keys in good condition.
- Tenant’s Responsibilities – This part of the agreement includes your obligations as a tenant, such as the rules for smoking, pets and insurance.
- Landlord’s Responsibilities – There should be a section listing the landlord’s obligations too (snow removal, yardwork, etc.).
- Standard Conditions of Tenancy Agreement – A copy of this document should also be attached (as outlined by the Residential Tenancies Act of 2006).
- Tenant & Landlord Signatures – Once you’ve read your rental agreement, the final step is for you and your landlord to sign and date the contract.
Can A Landlord Say No To Pets?
Absolutely. Before renting a dwelling in Saskatchewan, another important thing to understand is that your landlord does have the right to refuse pets anywhere on their property, as long as they’ve listed it in your lease agreement. Pets are only allowed if the contract says so or the landlord doesn’t address the subject.
Can A Landlord Say No To Overnight Guests?
No matter what the landlord says or declares in their rental agreement, they can’t prevent you from having guests stay at your unit overnight in SK. As a tenant, you can invite anyone you want, as long as they aren’t staying long enough to qualify as another tenant. Your landlord can’t refuse overnight guests, charge you extra or hike your rent but they can hold you responsible for any damages or disturbances they cause.
Can A Landlord Say No To Smoking?
Yes. Like with pets, your landlord is allowed to forbid smoking in or on their rental property, if they’ve listed it in your lease contract.
Watch out, as smoking or owning pets is grounds for eviction if it’s outlined in your agreement. However, your landlord must give you a grace period to resolve the issue before they can serve you with a notice of lease termination.
Security Deposits In Saskatchewan
A security deposit is a temporary payment that a landlord may ask for after you sign a rental agreement, and is meant to cover the cost of damages that you or your guests cause. That deposit can’t be larger than one month’s rent and the landlord can only demand it at the start of your tenancy. Plus, the landlord cannot continue to charge interest on the deposit if your tenancy lasts less than 5 years.
The only exception is when a landlord demands a security deposit because Saskatchewan Social Services has withdrawn a guarantee in place of a deposit. In this case, a security deposit can be divided into 2 types of payments:
- If Social Services withdraws a guarantee, the landlord can request up to half your security deposit at the beginning of your tenancy, within 30 days of you receiving their written demand for payment.
- The second half must be paid within 3 months (or 60 days) after you move into the unit OR 3 months after you receive the landlord’s demand following a withdrawal of a Social Services guarantee in lieu of deposit.
Rent Increase Limits In Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan landlords can raise your rent in specific situations:
Fixed-Term Tenancy – If your lease term is fixed, the landlord can only increase your rental after giving you at least 2 months’ notice.
Periodic Tenancy – If you rent weekly or monthly, your landlord must give you one of two types of Notice of Rent Increase form:
- Members of the Saskatchewan Landlord Association (SKLA), the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Industry Association (SRHIA), and the Network of Non-Profit Housing Providers of Saskatchewan (NPHPS) have to give you at least 6 months’ notice of a rent increase.
- A landlord that isn’t a member of these associations must give you at least 12 months notice of a rent increase.
SKLA/SRHIA members can increase your rent twice per year, while non-members can do it once a year. However, your landlord can’t serve you a Notice of Rent Increase within 6 months of your tenancy’s start date or the date of their last increase. When it comes to other kinds of rental housing, exceptions may apply:
- Mobile Homes – In mobile home sites, a landlord can’t serve you a rental increase notice within 18 months of your tenancy start date or 12 months of your last increase, unless they are an SKLA/SRHIA member. If so, they can send you notice within 12 months of your tenancy start date or 6 months of your last increase.
- Public Housing Authorities & Non-Profit Corporations – Since rent varies, these entities are exempt from rent increases, unless they’re listed in the lease. If you’re a tenant of one of these entities and your landlord doesn’t give you notice, contact the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT).
How To Terminate A Lease Early In Saskatchewan
According to rental laws in SK, landlords and tenants can terminate their lease agreement whenever they want, if proper notice is provided:
- Periodic Tenancies – For weekly or monthly rentals, notice must be given at least 1 week or 1 month before the day on which the rent is payable.
- Landlord Breaches – If your landlord is in “material” breach of your agreement because your unit is uninhabitable, in disrepair or other unacceptable conditions, you only have to give them 1 day’s written notice. You must include the reason for the termination and if there’s a way to fix the situation, you have to give your landlord time to resolve things before you can end the tenancy.
Your landlord is allowed to terminate a periodic tenancy:
- At least one month before the day of the week on which the rent is payable (for a weekly tenancy).
- Earlier, if they apply with the ORT.
If your landlord is ending your lease because you’ve breached your rental agreement, they have to give you a reasonable amount of time to fix the situation, unless there’s no way to resolve it. You can then dispute their notice of termination to the ORT, as long as you inform them within 15 days of receiving it.
Your landlord can serve you with immediate notice of termination if your rent or utility payments are 15 or more days overdue. To be valid, a rental termination notice must:
- Be in writing and signed by the party serving it
- Identify all parties involved
- List the tenancy’s official end date
- Delivered by mail or in person
Eviction Rules In Saskatchewan
In every province/territory, there are different things a tenant can do that are deemed as “reasonable” causes for their landlord to evict them.
The landlord must first acquire a form from the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) and, once they receive it, the tenant may object to the notice and refuse to vacate the premises. If that happens, the landlord can apply with the ORT and they will decide whether the eviction is justified.
Here are the 5 most common reasons to get evicted in Saskatchewan:
- Failure to Pay Rent and/or Utilities – If you avoid paying rent for 15 days or more, your landlord can serve you an Immediate Notice to Vacate and a Notice of Arrears (Form 7). You must then leave the unit right away. If you refuse, the landlord could apply with the ORT and have the property repossessed. Similar rules apply to unpaid utilities, only the landlord will give you a Notice of Utilities Arrears (Form 7A), which gives you 15 days to pay.
- Eviction For Cause – Your landlord could also evict you when you breach your rental contract. If you smoke or have pets in your unit without permission, the landlord has to give you an acceptable amount of time to fix the problem. For more serious issues, they will use a Serving Notice to Vacate (Form 8). Some of the things that can lead to a Form 8 are not paying your security deposit, consistently making late rent payments, disrupting or risking the health/safety of the landlord or other tenants, or causing damage and not repairing it in an acceptable time.
- The Landlord Needs the Unit For Personal Use – Unfortunately, since the landlord owns your unit, they can force you to move out if they want to give it to a close family member or friend, unless you’re renting for a fixed-term. Otherwise, they must give you at least 2 months notice before they can evict you.
- The Landlord is Selling the Property – Your landlord can also evict you if they sell the unit to a family member or other buyer who wants to live there. Once again, they can’t evict you for this reason, if you’ve signed a fixed-term lease. If it’s a periodic agreement, they must give you one month’s notice.
- Demolition or Major Renovations – If the landlord is renovating, converting the building or having it demolished, they must give you at least 2 months notice (which they can only do after getting the right permits and if the lease is periodic). They aren’t allowed to evict you from a fixed-term rental or for non-major reasons, like painting or maintenance.
Tenant rights and responsibilities across Canada
Do I need to do a condition inspection in Saskatchewan?
You don’t have to complete an inspection report when you’re about to move out of a rental unit in Saskatchewan. That said, it’s recommended that you and your landlord fill out a report together so there are no discrepancies.
When can my landlord enter my rental unit?
In Saskatchewan, your landlord is only allowed to enter your rental if they obtain your permission or there’s an emergency. If not, must give you written notice at least 24 hours in advance and can only enter your unit from 8 AM to 8 PM. Additionally, they must include a 4-hour timeframe during which they will be entering. If you’ve given notice that you’re ending your lease, they can also show your unit to other renters with your permission, if you sign a written agreement or if they’ve made an acceptable effort to give you 2 hours advance notice.
Can I refuse to pay rent if my landlord refuses to make a repair that I asked for?
No! You can’t withhold rent from your landlord in SK, even if they haven’t made repairs to your unit. This could qualify as failure to pay rent and grounds for eviction. However, there are 2 legal options:
- Apply with the ORT for an order that forces your landlord to perform the repairs, which may also lead to reduced rent until they’re done.
- Contact your municipal authorities to find out if your landlord is breaking any local bylaws that are set by the province’s minimum rental standards. If the complaint is justified, an official may inspect the property and if they find any issues, they’ll order the landlord to fix them right away.
How long does a landlord have to return my damage deposit?
In Saskatchewan, your landlord is required to return your security deposit within 7 business days of your lease termination. The same rule applies if they intend to claim part or all of the deposit to finance damages or repairs.
What happens if I damage my rental unit in Saskatchewan?
SK landlords are also required to keep their rental units in good shape, so that they’re habitable. Similar rules apply to tenants, meaning you’re responsible for dealing with any repairs for damages that you’re the cause of. Remember, if repairs need to be done, the best way to resolve the problem is by giving your landlord a written request detailing each item, as well as individual dates that would provide them a reasonable timeframe for which to make the repairs. If they still refuse to fix the issues, contact the Office of Residential Tenancies.
Looking To Rent In Saskatchewan?
Then it’s very important to learn your rights and responsibilities as a tenant before you sign a lease. The same principle applies to your landlord’s obligations. For more information about tenant and landlord laws in Saskatchewan, contact the provincial government or check out their website.