Tips before moving to a new rental home

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Note: Moving during a pandemic is not an ideal situation. But if you have no choice, ensure that you are taking precautions to protect yourself and other people from catching the virus. Deal only with landlords and moving companies that have protocols that protect customers as well as their own personnel.

Your application has been approved! Congratulations, you can now set your move-in date. Before packing up your belongings, 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 it or make one together with the landlord. This report describes any damage such as peeling paint, or any problems or defects in the rental home. Include photographs in the report for proof.

    A condition report is important because any damage will be charged to your security deposit when you end your lease. If the damage was there prior to your move and is listed in the report, you will not be held responsible for it.

  2. Be clear about the terms of your lease

    Understand the terms of your contract before signing it. Ask your landlord if there are parts that are not clear to you. If you need more help, send an email to New Journey Housing (NJH personnel are working from home during the pandemic. Check their website for updates). They can help assess if your contract is sound or not.

    Know the terms of payment in the Tenancy Agreement. Tenants usually pay in cash, cheque, post-dated cheques, certified cheques, or by direct deposit. There are electronic means that can automatically send money to your landlord’s account on a regular basis so you can avoid penalties. Consult your bank to set this up. Remember to review your lease every year. Rent can increase every 12 months based on rates and guidelines set by the Manitoba Government (during the pandemic, rent increases are frozen from April 1 and late fees are prohibited for failure to pay rent during this time). Your landlord must follow these guidelines and inform you through a written notice at least three months before it becomes effective. Be familiar with the measures that help tenants during the pandemic in case you get sick: COVID-19 Information for tenants.

    Keep records of your rent payments and keep receipts. You will need these when you file your Income Tax each year.

  3. Inform service agencies

    Inform service agencies of your new address. If you are a 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)

    Don’t forget to inform your employer, doctor, dentist, bank, your child’s school, as well as service providers if you have subscriptions to magazines, cable, internet or phone.

  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, theft and similar losses. You can talk to an insurance broker (Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba), or search online and compare quotes.

  5. Clean up and sanitize

    Check the unit again 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 immediately if you see anything that needs cleaning or repair. In these times, it is also important to sanitize your unit to make it virus-free before you move in. Read Spring cleaning in the time of COVID-19: Here’s how to sanitize your home for more tips.

    Check beds, tables, sofas and other household items before moving them to your new home. Carefully inspect them for pests especially if they were given to you or were bought second-hand. Read Bed bugs: How do I get rid of them? to know how to deal with an infestation.

An important note about movers: Being new to the country/province, you may not know which moving companies are legitimate and how much the rates should be (know some types of moving scams here: consumer alerts). Go to the Canadian Association of Movers site to see a list of reputable companies. You can also call them to ask for recommendations.
Article updated May 4, 2020.
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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