2022-10-11T10:23:29-04:00Mar 15, 2021|

Understanding your rights as a tenant in Saskatchewan

For many newcomers, finding a place to live is one of the most important tasks you need to attend to once you arrive in Canada. Part of finding safe and comfortable housing for you and your family includes understanding your rights as a tenant. For people who choose to settle in Saskatchewan, there are legal rights to protect them from discrimination and from unlawfully being evicted from a property. Here’s what you need to know when finding a place you’ll be happy with.

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Want to learn more about how to rent in Canada?
See How to rent your first home as a newcomer in Canada for a step-by-step guide on finding the right approach, identifying where you want to live, and preparing the proper documents. 

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What documents do you need to rent in Saskatchewan?

Renting a house, apartment or another type of dwelling in Saskatchewan usually requires you to provide certain documents as part of your application process. These documents will support your financial information and any previous rental history. Here is a list of common documents you’ll likely be asked to submit as part of your rental application:

  • Employment letter: A letter from your employer stating how long you’ve been employed at your current job and your annual salary.
  • Pay stubs: In addition to an employment letter, you may be asked to provide copies of recent pay stubs as proof of your income.
  • Bank statement: If you’re self-employed or still looking for a permanent job, you could be asked to provide a copy of a recent bank statement instead of pay stubs and employment letters. This is a way to show a potential landlord you have sufficient money to pay your rent.
  • References: Similar to applying for jobs, you can expect to be asked for references from a trusted friend or manager who will speak to your character and reliability as a tenant. These references have to be based in Canada.
  • Credit report: A full credit report is often requested as part of your rental application. Your credit report is a summary of your credit history, and you’ll be provided with a three-digit number. The higher the number, the better your financial health. A full credit report shows any debts or bankruptcy and costs approximately $25 CAD to obtain from an authorized credit rating organization. Alternatively, a landlord may arrange to run a credit check on you in advance and would require your full name, address and date of birth.

Tips Icon  Tip:
It takes at least a few weeks to a month for newcomers to receive their first Canadian credit card and a few additional months of credit transactions to generate a credit history. EQUIFAX and TransUnion are the two major credit rating organizations in Canada, and you can choose either one to get your credit report.

Get more information on how to rent without a credit history in Canada
See How to rent an apartment with no credit history or job letter in Canada for tips on how to showcase your reliability as a tenant and where to focus your search.

Eviction rules in Saskatchewan

In Saskatchewan, a landlord can evict a tenant on reasonable grounds, including for non-payment of rent. However, they must use a form provided by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). A tenant can object to a notice for termination and refuse to leave the property. Then, it’s up to the landlord to apply to the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) for an order of possession. The ORT will decide if the eviction is valid or not. 

Common reasons for eviction in Saskatchewan include:

1. Non-payment of rent

If a tenant hasn’t paid rent for 15 days or more, a landlord can evict them immediately by serving a Form 7 (Immediate Notice to Vacate and Notice of Arrears). For example, if the rent is due on April 1, then on April 16 a landlord can serve notice to evict the property. If the tenant doesn’t leave, a landlord then needs to apply to the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) to repossess their property. If the tenant owes payment to the landlord for utilities, a landlord can serve a Form 7a (Notice of Utilities Arrears). This notice gives the tenant 15 days to pay. If they fail to do so, a landlord can then issue a Form 7.

2. Eviction for cause 

A tenancy agreement can also be terminated for breach of the agreement. In most cases, except if eviction due to smoking when there is a non-smoking clause, the landlord must give the tenant reasonable time to address the problem. A landlord would use a Form 8 (Serving Notice to Vacate) and is required to provide their tenant with one month’s notice. Reasons to evict for cause can include: 

  • Failing to pay the security deposit.
  • Repeated late rent payments.
  • Disturbing or jeopardizing the health and safety of other tenants and/or the landlord.
  • Engaging in offensive or illegal activities.
  • Causing extensive damage and/or failing to repair damage in a reasonable time.
  • Repeatedly violating rules set out by the landlord.
  • Unreasonable number of occupants in the property. 

3. Personal use 

If you have a periodic tenancy agreement your landlord may evict you if they, a close family member, or a friend wishes to move into the lodgings. In this instance, a landlord needs to provide two months’ notice to evict. A landlord is not permitted to evict a tenant for personal use if they are on a fixed-term lease. 

4. Sale of property

A landlord can evict you if the property you are renting is sold and the new purchaser or their close family member wants to occupy the property. The landlord needs to give one month’s notice, but only if the tenant has a periodic tenancy agreement. Landlords are not permitted to evict a tenant for this reason if the tenant is on a fixed-term lease. 

5. Major renovations or demolition 

If the landlord wishes to do major renovations on the property that requires the building to be empty (this does not include things like painting or regular maintenance), convert the building to another use, or demolish it, they must first have the necessary permits. Only then can a landlord give a tenant two months’ notice, provided the tenant is on a periodic lease. A tenant cannot be evicted for these reasons on a fixed-term lease. 

Your responsibilities as a tenant in Saskatchewan

While landlords certainly have a responsibility to their tenants, similarly as a tenant renting in Saskatchewan, you also have responsibilities to your landlord. They include:

  • Paying your rent on time and in full on the date it is due.
  • Pay utility bills on time.
  • Keep the rental property clean and maintain it, which could mean clearing snow and cutting the grass. 
  • Have tenancy insurance for the property, if it is a condition of the lease. 
  • Be considerate of other tenants in the property.
  • Not conduct illegal or harmful activity.
  • Get permission from the landlord before inviting others to live in the rental unit.
  • Repair any damages you or any of your guests may cause.

What is covered by a rental lease?

In Saskatchewan, a tenancy agreement can either be a periodic agreement where it goes month-to-month or week-to-week, or a fixed-term agreement, which has a specific beginning and end date. A fixed-term tenancy agreement must be in writing, unless it is for a period of three months or less. The landlord must provide a copy of the signed tenancy agreement within 20 days. A signed lease is not required for a periodic tenancy agreement in Saskatchewan. However, it’s advisable to request a written agreement as proof of what you have agreed to as a tenant. 

Here is some of the information a rental lease would include:

Lease Component Description
Parties to the agreement The name, address and contact details of the landlord and tenant, as well as the address of the property.
Terms Whether the agreement is a fixed-term or periodic agreement and the beginning and end date of the tenancy (if applicable).
Rent The amount of rent due each month, when it is due, and how it will be paid.
Utilities and appliances A checklist of services and appliances that are included as part of the rental unit, such as electricity, heat, water, parking, cable, stove, fridge, washer and dryer.
Security deposit Whether a security deposit is required as a condition of rent.
Condition of the rental unit This section outlines that the landlord and tenant agree to inspect the rental unit before and after the tenant vacates and each party will receive a copy of the inspection report. It also outlines the responsibilities of the landlord to provide a reasonably clean property. The tenant is responsible for repairing any damage, and returning the property in a reasonably clean condition, as well as any keys at the end of the lease.
Obligations of the landlord This section includes a space outlining any obligations that the landlord agrees to follow, such as yard maintenance or snow removal.
Obligations of the tenant This section includes a space outlining any obligations that the tenant must follow such as no pets, no smoking or vaping, or obtaining tenancy insurance.
Signatures All parties sign and date the lease agreement.

A copy of the standard conditions of a tenancy agreement as outlined by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), 2006 should also be attached to every written tenancy agreement.

What is included in a lease in Saskatchewan?

When renting a property in Saskatchewan, you and your landlord should be following the guidelines set up by the RTA. Here are some clauses or conditions that can and cannot be included in a lease in Saskatchewan: 

Clauses that can be included in a lease 

The following clauses can be included in a lease in Saskatchewan:

  • Utilities: Outlines whether utilities such as gas, water, heat, electricity and cable are included in the rental agreement as part of the rent.
  • Smoking: A landlord may include a non-smoking clause in the lease, including tobacco and the growing of and use of cannabis, which is legal in Canada.
  • Pets: Whether a landlord will allow pets and if there are any restrictions on the size or breed of pet.
  • Tenancy insurance: Obtaining proper liability insurance when renting a property and providing a copy of the insurance to the landlord.

Tips Icon  Tip:
It is advisable to take out tenant insurance as it protects your belongings, living expenses, including moving costs, and liability claims if you cause accidental damage. Renter’s insurance is relatively inexpensive and costs around $25 CAD per month.

Clauses that cannot be included or changed in a lease 

The following clauses cannot be included in a lease in Saskatchewan: 

  • Guests: A landlord cannot include a clause restricting a tenant from having guests, roommates or additional occupants, such as a family member. However, if the landlord has reason to believe someone has moved into the property and is not on the tenancy agreement, they can take steps to remove them.
  • Additional deposits: In Saskatchewan, a landlord can only legally ask for the equivalent of up to one month’s rent as a security deposit. Half of this must be paid at the beginning of the agreement and the other half is due two months later. The landlord must provide a receipt if you pay in cash.
  • Payment for keys: A landlord is not permitted to ask a tenant to pay for the cost of keys to the rental property.
  • Payment for repairs: A landlord is not permitted to request a tenant pay for any or part of repairs that fall under the responsibility of the landlord, such as for plumbing, heating or electric services.

Rental increase limits in Saskatchewan

In Saskatchewan, a landlord may raise the rent at the end of a fixed-term lease and must provide at least two month’s notice of the rent increase. For periodic tenancy agreements, notices to increase rent must be given in writing using the Notice of Rent Increase Form. There are two forms available: one for approved Landlord Association members and one for other landlords. A landlord must give one year’s notice. Members of the Saskatchewan Landlord Association (SKLA) and the Network of Non-Profit Housing Providers of Saskatchewan (NPHPS) may give only six months’ notice.

What are my rights as a tenant in Saskatchewan?

Here are some common questions on your rights as a tenant in Saskatchewan: 

How to break your lease as a tenant in Saskatchewan?

If you have a periodic tenancy agreement you must give a minimum of one month’s rent for a month-to-month tenancy or a minimum of one week’s notice for a week-to-week tenancy. However, if you have entered into a fixed-term agreement, you are legally responsible for the duration of the tenancy term. You cannot break the lease without the permission of their landlord. If you need to break a fixed-term lease, you should speak with your landlord or look to sublet the property. 

How much notice does a landlord have to give in Saskatchewan?

If you have entered into a fixed-term tenancy agreement with a landlord and they do not plan to renew the lease, they are not required to give you any notice. In Saskatewan, when a landlord and tenant sign a fixed-term tenancy agreement, they are effectively giving each other notice to end the tenancy on that date. However, if your landlord plans to renew a fixed-term lease, they should give you at least two month’s notice. 

The tenancy agreement must state the date that the tenancy ends. In effect, when the landlord and tenant sign the agreement, they give each other notice to end the tenancy on that date. The tenant does not have to give any other notice to leave when the tenancy ends.

How much notice does a tenant have to give in Saskatchewan?

A tenant is entitled to end a month-to-month tenancy agreement at any time by giving the landlord at least one month’s notice before the day in which the rent is due. For a week-to-week tenancy, a tenant must give one week’s notice before the day on which the rent is due. A tenant can end a tenancy with one day’s notice if the property has become uninhabitable.

How much can a landlord increase rent in Saskatchewan?

There are no limits to how much a landlord can increase rent, however, they are restricted by the conditions of when rent increases can be applied. Typically it’s once a year, unless the landlord is a member of the Saskatchewan Landlord Association (SKLA) or the Network of Non-Profit Housing Providers of Saskatchewan (NPHPS), then they can increase rent every six months. Tenants who are facing a significant increase could get assistance through the Tenant Assistance Process (TAP)

How long does a landlord have to return a damage deposit in Saskatchewan?

A landlord must return a damage deposit (which can only be the equivalent of up to one month’s rent) within seven business days. If a landlord claims part or all of the deposit to cover damage costs or repairs, they must provide the tenant with written notice of this within the same seven-day timeframe. 

Can a landlord say no to overnight guests?

Despite what a landlord might say or even try to include in a rental agreement they legally cannot prevent you from having overnight guests stay at your rental property in Saskatchewan. You have the right to decide who you can invite to visit and stay at your place. A landlord is not permitted to create any sort of limitations on your right to do this, nor can they charge you an extra fee or threaten to raise your rent if you have guests stay. However, please note, as a tenant you are also responsible for any disturbances or damages your guests may do to the property.

Where to get help 

If you have any questions or concerns about renting in Saskatchewan, you can contact the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) for advice at toll-free 1-888-215-2222 from 9 .am. To 11:45 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Alternatively, email ORT@gov.sk.ca. The Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City (CLASSIC) may also be able to provide assistance and can be contacted at tel: 306-657-6100 or visit their Facebook page.