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Landlord Issues in Rural Manitoba

We are renting a house in rural Manitoba. We signed a 3-month lease from January thru March. As March approached, the landlord asked us if we would like to extend for another 3 months until the end of June. We told him that we did. In February he had a real estate agent come to the house to do an appraisal as he said that he wanted to put the house on the market. Starting from March, we were very cooperative as several potential buyers came to see the house.

Near the end of May, the landlord asked me what our plans were moving forward. I told him that I didn't know yet. His response was that he wanted to 'stick to the original lease agreement' and have us move out by June 30. His reason was that he was planning to have contractors come and do some work on the house and we needed to be out before that. A couple of days later, he gave me a tentative date of July 2 for the contractors. I told him that we needed more time before we move and asked if we could stay in the house during the renovations. His answer was that we could not stay in the house. He asked me how much more time we needed and I told him we didn't know. We need at least the month of July, and quite possibly longer. He was adamant that we had to be out by the end of June but might be able to give us another 7-10 days at the most.

As the end of June came, he started contacting me asking when we were leaving. I had heard from his real estate agent that he was taking the house off the market. Then the landlord stated that his contractors needed to come into the house and that he had a new renter coming on July 20! I called the Residential Tenancies Branch (RTB) of Manitoba to find out what our rights are as tenants. In fact, I had called them a few weeks back but wanted to call again to get verification and ask a few more questions. They told me that it was the landlord's responsibility to give us 4 or 5 months written notice (based on the vacancy rate in this area - it is either 4 or 5 months) with a special form outlining what renovations needed to be done and why we couldn't stay in the house while they were being done. He did not provide us with such a letter. In one conversation, he had mentioned that he sent us a letter to us in the mail in May! We never received any letter nor did he ever allude to that letter in his efforts to have us leave the house. The RTB informed me that even if he had provided the proper notification in May, it would have allowed us to stay in the house until the end of September or October. Since we have school-aged kids, and because those dates are during the school year, we would be able to stay in the house until June 30, 2019 at the very least.

Over the past couple of days, we faced what I would deem as borderline harassment from the landlord. First, he has been contacting by text or phone incessantly. Then, he showed up unannounced and had my wife take one of our vehicles out of the garage so that he could leave a large number of his personal items there. So, we no longer have use of half of our 2-car garage.

I knew that meeting / discussing this with him would not be of any benefit to us. So, I wrote him a letter that we dropped at the post office and also sent him by e-mail. In the letter I simply stated that we were not leaving the house now, he should come and get his belongings out of the garage or we are eligible for a reduction in rent, and we would appreciate if he repaired a couple of items that were requested of him a few months ago.

I received an e-mail from him yesterday asking when we planned to vacate the house. I responded with "we will let you know as soon as we know." He responded with another e-mail today "are you planning to leave before or on July 31?" My first inclination is to not respond further to such questions.

There is a bit more to the story but it really doesn't apply to the issue at hand. The frustrating part was his belief that he 'was doing us a favor by renting us his home'. That was something he once mentioned in conversation a while back. If this were the case, we wouldn't be paying such a high price for the house (it's not cheap for this town), and we wouldn't have been forced to do everything by the book. He was very adamant about a security deposit, having a short lease in place so that he felt he had the flexibility to sell the house, etc etc. Everything was always by the book with no exception.

Now it appears that he wants to turf us from the house ASAP so that he can fix it up and rent to another family! Something doesn't smell right here but I value your views.