Tips before moving to a new rental home

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Your application has been approved! Congratulations, you are now set to live in your new unit! But before packing up your things, here are five things you should do to ensure a worry-free move:

  1. Get a condition report – if you haven’t done a condition report before signing the lease, you can still ask for or make one together with the landlord before you move in. This report describes the condition of the rental home before you have lived in it. It records if there are damages, peeling paint, or any other problems in the unit. Photographs can accompany it so that you have proof.
    Making a condition report is important. Any damage to the unit, while you are living in it, will be charged to your security deposit when you end your lease. If the damage has been there prior to your move, you cannot be held responsible for it.
  2. Set your payment schedules – know your deadline and never miss payments – there may be penalties if you pay late. You will find the terms for your rent payment in the Tenancy Agreement or from your landlord.

    Usually, you can pay in cash, cheque, post-dated cheques, certified cheques, or direct deposit. It would be a good idea to ask your bank (in consultation with your landlord) to help you set-up the ideal payment schedule. There are electronic means that can automatically send money to your landlord’s account on a regular basis so that you will never miss paying your rent. You may have to alter this arrangement every year. Every 12 months, rent can be increased based on rates set by the Manitoba Government. Your landlord must follow government rules for increasing rent and inform you through a written notice at least three months before it becomes effective.

    Remember to keep records of the rent you pay. Ask for a receipt from your landlord and keep a file. You will need these when you file your Income Tax each year.

  3. Inform service agencies – Especially if this is not your first home in Manitoba, you may need to inform service agencies of your new address. If you are first time renter, check with your landlord which agencies you will need to contact. These may include:
    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (formerly CIC)
    Manitoba Health
    Canada Post
    Canada Revenue Agency
    Manitoba Hydro
    City of Winnipeg Water and Waste; or if you are in the regions: City of Brandon Utilities; or City of Steinbach Departments and Services
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (for changes to Certificate of Indian Status)

    Also, don’t forget to inform your employer, your children’s school, doctor, dentist, your bank, and your providers if you have subscriptions to magazines, cable, internet, or phone service.

  4. Get tenant insurance – Did you know that your landlord’s building insurance does not cover your possessions if they are stolen or damaged? Tenant insurance is an inexpensive way to protect your furniture and personal belongings should there be a fire or other catastrophes. You can talk to an insurance broker (Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba), or search online and compare quotes.
  5. Clean up! – Check the unit if it is clean and pest-free before moving. Inspect the bathroom, kitchen, basement, and other areas where moisture can cause mold. Mold can cause serious health problems. Inform the landlord if you see mold. He or she should ensure that the unit is clean and safe before you move in.
    Before bringing in beds, tables, sofas and other household items, make sure that these are also clean and bedbug-free. Especially if they have been given to you or bought second-hand, you need to carefully inspect them for pests. Read 6 home remedies to get rid of bedbugs by Joan Clark of Tips Bulletin to learn how to check for bedbugs, deal with an infestation, or how to prevent one from starting. Meanwhile, the article “Do you need assistance for getting settled? Here’s where to get help” lists down resources for furniture, food, clothing and other supports.

Source: Renting a Home in Manitoba (MIRSSA, MIIC, IRCOM, New Journey Housing, and the Winnipeg Rental Network).

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Community Resources

For other tips for keeping your home healthy and safe, read Fire safety tips for newcomers and Community safety and security.

If you moved to a new home to work or run a business at a new location, or to take courses as a full-time student in a post-secondary program at an educational institution, you may be able to claim moving expenses. Go to the Canada Revenue Agency website: Moving Expenses to know more.

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