What is a lease?

A lease or tenancy agreement is an agreement between a landlord (home/apartment owner) and the tenant (the renter). It is a written document that is signed by the landlord and tenant. It is required that the renter receives a copy of the agreement from the landlord within 21 days of signing it. The lease will usually contain information and conditions such as:

  • The date the tenancy begins and ends
  • The amount of the rent and the date it must be paid;
  • What is included in the rent
  • The names of the people who will live in the rental unit with the tenant;
  • The utilities the tenant is responsible to pay
  • The rules and conditions from The Residential Tenancies Act as well as the landlord’s own reasonable house rules

How long is the lease?

This is especially important to know as a student  – simply because many students plan to stay in Winnipeg only for eight (8) months of the year. Typically, a lease is for a fixed term – usually for a 12-month period – but it is also common for a lease to be month-to-month. If the agreement is for a fixed term, the landlord must give the tenant a new tenancy agreement no later than three (3) months before the end date of the existing agreement.

Who signs a lease?

Landlords typically want all adults (over 18 years of age) who will be living in the unit to sign the lease or be named as an occupant on the lease. This includes a renter’s significant other and/or roommates. Doing this makes everyone responsible for the terms of the lease. In cases where landlords are not sure whether the person applying to rent is capable of making rent payments on their own, they have the right to ask the applicant to find someone to sign a Guarantee Agreement. Essentially, a guarantee agreement says that if the rent is not paid, the guarantor is responsible to pay the landlord.

What is a Guarantor?

A guarantor is a person who signs an agreement stating that they will guarantee that a tenant will meet specific obligations set out in the lease agreement, including all money owed. The money can be for unpaid rent, damages, or repairs for the rental unit. If you sign a Guarantee Agreement, you are the guarantor. For more information on guarantee agreements for guarantors click here. Guarantor information for landlords can be found here.

Can I get out of the lease before the end of the term?

Tenants in a fixed-term agreement are responsible for the rent until the end of the term. Tenants in a month-to-month agreement must give landlords one full rental payment period’s notice. Please see the Residential Tenancies Branch document here for more information on exceptions to these rules.

The information contained in this section of the website is for reference only and is provided as general guidelines for U of M students searching for off-campus housing and for prospective landlords. Provincial Acts governing the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants are under the jurisdiction of the Residential Tenancies Branch of Manitoba. Complete information on rights and responsibilities can be found on their website or by contacting their office at:

Residential Tenancies Branch
302 – 254 Edmonton Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 3Y4
Telephone: 204-945-2476
Toll Free in Manitoba: 1-800-782-8403
FAX: 204-945-6273
email: rtb@gov.mb.ca