How do I find a place to rent?

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Just arrived in Manitoba and don’t know where to start in your search for an apartment or a room? Here is a step-by-step guide:

You will need:

Income – This can be regular salary from a job, monetary support like Employment Income Assistance, or savings.
Rental history – This is a record of homes in Manitoba that you have rented in the past. You may need a guarantor if you don’t have rental history. A guarantor is a person who will make sure that you will pay your rent. They should also be willing to assume the responsibility if you cannot.


  1. Set your budget and list of “must-haves”
  2. These include:

    • Your budget – It is advisable to keep your rent within 30 per cent of your monthly income. You should also consider the cost of your utilities (hydro or electricity, heat, water, parking, phone, cable, and internet) when setting your budget.
    • Size and style of the home – This will depend on how many family members you have. Based on National Occupancy Standards, you will need one bedroom for each boy, five years and older; each girl, five years and older; each adult couple; and single adults 18 years and over. Children five years or older, or children of the same sex can share a bedroom. Depending on your needs, you can choose from apartments, houses, townhouses or rooms.
    • Location – Do you want to live downtown? Near your workplace? Near family? Other factors that you will need to think about when deciding on the location would be nearby schools for your kids, nearby amenities (such as stores, doctor’s offices), bus (or bike) routes, or places of worship.
    • Other options – If you are interested in subsidized rental homes or if you want to know if you qualify for Employment Income Assistance, read the article Types of rental housing in MB for more information. You can also learn more about Rent Assist, a rent subsidy program through this link.
  3. Look for places to rent
  4. When you’ve determined your budget, style of home, and location, now is the time to look places that are for rent. You can ask from friends or family. You can also ask the help of New Journey Housing, an agency that helps newcomers (they also have free seminars that can help you learn more about newcomer housing options). Other sources to try:

    • Online classifieds – Search on sites like Winnipeg Rental Network, Rent Manitoba, Kijiji Classifieds, or Winnipeg Free Press Marketplace. It will also be helpful to check out forums and Facebook groups for listings. Those who post ads in such groups prefer newcomers and may have fewer requirements compared to ads in general circulation.
    • Print classifieds – Look through classified sections in ethnic, community, or daily newspapers like the Winnipeg Free Press.
    • Pamphlets – You will find booklets and flyers given out for free in the library that have listings you can explore.
    • Signs – Go to the area that you like (either drive through or walk around the neighbourhood) and look for “for rent” signs.
    • Bulletin boards – Grocery stores, libraries, clinics, settlement provider organizations, and other commercial or community establishments may have ads for available rental homes posted on their boards.
  5. Call, inquire, and visit
  6. Call and ask the contact person or the landlord if the listing is still available. Set a date when you can go and see the place. Be prompt in viewing the property; competition for good rental places is stiff in Manitoba. Be there at the appointed date and time. Present yourself well when you meet the landlord and show that you are serious about renting the home.

    What to check and ask:

    • Rental cost – Know the utilities and services included in the rent, the total rent amount, and when it is due. They might ask for reservation fee. Ask the landlord whether the fee will be returned after they’ve made a decision or if you’re not approved to rent.
    • Building or unit– It should be clean and in good condition inside and out. Check if the fridge, stove, water taps, heater/air conditioning work. Also, flush the toilet to see if it’s working. Check if the water drains from the sink and bathtub or if there are leaks.
    • Rules – Ask if pets are allowed if you have one. Also ask if there are rules other than those in the contract. These are guidelines like limits on visitors, noise and disturbances; use of laundry facilities; and others.
    • Parking – Is there space allotted for you? Would it mean additional costs? If you don’t have a vehicle, it would be helpful to ask the landlord for the nearest bus stops or terminals for public transport.
    • Contacts – Find out if there is a caretaker or building manager. You would need to know who to call for repairs and emergencies or when you problems with another tenant.
  7. Apply for it
  8. If you find everything in order and you like the unit or house:

    • Fill out the rental application – This will ask for personal information, where you work or where you get your income. Take note that you don’t need to provide your SIN to apply. You will need to share your rental history or have a guarantor. The landlord may also check your credit report. Finally, get your references ready. Make a list of names and contact information of people who can vouch for you.
    • Pay the security deposit – This amount cannot be more than 50% of the monthly rent. It is given either when you apply or after you are approved. The security deposit covers any damage to the property while you’re living in the rental home. If you’re asked to pay this when you apply, remember to ask the landlord whether it will be returned in case you are not approved.
  9. When you are approved
    • Read and sign the lease – You will be asked to sign a Tenancy agreement. It is a legally-binding agreement so make sure to read and understand it. The agreement will include all the terms of your lease (for example what utilities are included in the rent, when the rent is due, when can rent increases be imposed, and other terms and conditions). If you have questions about it, ask the landlord. For general questions, go to General Frequently Asked Questions (Residential Tenancies Branch) or consult a lawyer.
    • Ask for a condition report – This is a report that describes the state of the unit or home before you move. This ensures that you would not have to pay for damages that have already existed and you are not responsible for. It would be a good idea do the inspection together with your landlord and take pictures.

Updated May 11, 2021.
Sources: Renting a Home in Manitoba (MIRSSA, MIIC, IRCOM, New Journey Housing, and the Winnipeg Rental Network); The Newcomers Guide to Canadian Housing, and Renting your first home in Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

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Community Resources

Read the Tenants Guide to know your rights and responsibilities.

Welcome to Canada: Finding a home

Older adults (55+) can check for housing options from the Winnipeg Housing Directory for Older Adults found on the A&O Support for Older Adults site.

Discrimination is prohibited in areas such as housing and accommodation. Read the article “What are human rights?” to know more about your rights as an applicant and tenant.

The Residential Tenancies Branch is responsible for mediating disputes between landlords and tenants. If you need help with any issue regarding your rental home, you can contact this agency.

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