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By law, the Standard Conditions are part of every residential agreement, whether written, verbal or implied. They must be included in every written tenancy agreement. The Standard Conditions highlight important requirements of The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 and regulations. The Act, regulations and Standard Conditions override anything to the contrary in a tenancy agreement.
A landlord cannot charge for processing any tenant's application to rent.
Landlords should give a copy of the Standard Conditions to all tenants with verbal or implied agreements. Landlords frequently rely on the Standard Conditions respecting payment of rent, rent increases, the landlord's right of entry and the right to evict.
Written agreements must include:
A tenancy agreement must not be amended to change or remove a standard condition. Any other change to a term or provision of a tenancy agreement must be agreed to by both the landlord and tenant.
A landlord is entitled to make reasonable rules about the tenant's use, occupancy or maintenance of the rental unit and the tenant's use of the services and facilities including rules prohibiting the possession, use, selling or distribution of cannabis or the growing and possession of cannabis plants in the rental unit. The rules must be in writing and brought to the tenant's attention.
Landlords may choose to use one of these tenancy agreements that comply with the Act and its Regulations.
Landlords who write tenancy agreements must be clear, as it is a legal document. If a document has two or more possible meanings, a tenant may assume, and the law will enforce, any reasonable interpretation of the document by the tenant. A tenant may read an agreement in a manner that is more favorable to the tenant than intended by the landlord. If there is ambiguity, the law will enforce the meaning that the tenant reasonably understood.
The Act and regulations overrule any residential tenancy agreement that conflicts with the Act or regulations. Agreements or parts of an agreement can only be changed by the agreement of both parties. The only exception is the landlord's right to increase the rent by giving proper notice.
The tenant's obligation to pay rent is suspended if the landlord does not, within 20 days of entering into the tenancy agreement:
In a building with more than one rental unit that includes a common area, the landlord must post and maintain in a noticeable place or near the main entrance a prominent notice with the landlord's legal name, and the address for service of notices and telephone number of the landlord or landlord's agent.
If you are a tenant and your landlord does not live in Saskatchewan, you can visit the Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants to find out how to serve documents to your landlord.
Fixed-term tenancy agreements must be in writing and cannot be less than three months. Tenancy agreements less than three months are deemed periodic tenancies. 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.
At least two months prior to the end of a fixed term lease, a landlord must notify the tenant in a Term Agreement – Two Month Notice of Intention form whether or not the landlord offers to renew the lease.
If the landlord offers to renew the lease, the terms of the new offer must be included.
If the tenant does not accept the offer within one month after the offer is received, the tenant is deemed to have rejected the offer and must vacate at the end of the tenancy. A landlord may not withdraw an offer of renewal.
If the landlord fails to provide a copy of the form to the tenant two months before the end of the tenancy, and the tenant isn't planning to vacate at the end of the term, the tenant and landlord should discuss and try to agree what will happen after the end of the term. If the landlord and tenant cannot agree on a mutually acceptable terms to continue the tenancy, the tenant may apply to ORT for a hearing. A hearing officer may make any order that the hearing officer considers fair in the circumstances, including an order that the tenancy continues as a periodic tenancy from month to month, or an order ending the tenancy and may award compensation.
Rent may not be increased during the term of the lease, except as specifically agreed in the written lease.
A landlord may charge a tenant a fee for late payment of rent if a "late fee" is included in the tenancy agreement. Landlords cannot impose late fees unless the rule or policy is clear and accepted by the tenant when the landlord and tenant enter into the tenancy agreement.
A late fee is lawful as long as it is a "reasonable pre-estimate of damages" and not a penalty. If a late fee is so high that it is not a reasonable pre-estimate of damages or costs incurred by a landlord because of late payment of rent, the fee will not be enforceable.
Typically, late fees up to the amount of $25.00 per month are justifiable and enforceable. In some circumstances, a landlord may prove entitlement to a larger amount by establishing that a greater expense to the landlord was anticipated when the parties entered into the lease.
When a landlord rents the same premises to more than one tenant, the tenants will be either:
Landlords and tenants are not always clear about what they intended, which may create problems of interpretation.
In the case of a month-to-month tenancy, one tenant can serve notice to end that tenancy even if the other tenant is not in favour or aware of the situation. However, one tenant alone cannot end a fixed term tenancy.
If one tenant serves notice to terminate a month-to-month tenancy, the tenancy is ended for all the tenants. The landlord must deal with the security deposit when the tenancy ends. If one or more of the tenants enter into a new tenancy agreement and will continue to occupy the rental unit, the landlord needs to deal with the security deposit as if the tenants were all vacating, and ask for a new security deposit from the remaining tenants, as if they are new tenants. The landlord should complete an inspection and either claim damages for repairs, or return the security deposit within seven business days payable to all the joint tenants. The joint tenants who are remaining may apply their share of the security deposit towards the new security deposit.
A tenant who has to pay for damages caused by one or more other joint tenant can pursue the other joint tenants in Small Claims Court to recover those damages.
Joint tenancy will be presumed unless there is evidence that there was a separate agreement or arrangement between the landlord and each of the tenants.
Joint tenants and separate tenants must be distinguished from sub-tenants. A tenant may sign a lease for the whole of the rental premises, and find a roommate to whom they sublet part of the rental premises. In this case, only the prime tenant has obligations to the landlord, and must pay all the rent. The prime tenant will be a landlord to the sub-tenant and may collect and hold a security deposit. The prime tenant must obtain the landlord's consent to sublet, or include the right to sublet as a term of the lease. If the landlord's consent is required, a landlord must not unreasonably withhold consent. public housing authority may withhold consent for any reason.
Generally speaking, the Act and Regulations do not apply to "rent-to-own" arrangements in agreements for sale of property or land. Any agreement that creates a potential change in ownership, including an action to cancel the agreement, must be taken to the Court of Queen's Bench. You should consult a lawyer about your rights.
If a tenancy agreement contains an option to purchase, the ORT will generally have jurisdiction until the option to purchase is exercised.
Determining whether the ORT has jurisdiction over a tenancy agreement that includes a rent to own arrangement may involve other facts and more than one law. In the event of a dispute between a landlord and tenant where the facts and conditions of the agreement are not clear, it may be necessary to determine jurisdiction through the ORT.
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