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Rental Rules

There are many rules about rentals that both landlords and tenants must comply with. Some of these are determined by the law and others can be created by the Landlord.

Landlord's Rules

Landlords can make reasonable rules about the use or maintenance of the rental unit. For example, there may be a limit on how many people can live in the rental unit. There may be rules about a tenant's use of services and facilities. For example, laundry facilities may only be available during certain hours.

These rules must be in writing and the tenant must be told about the rules. It is important to understand the rules and follow them because a landlord can evict a tenant for repeatedly breaking the rules. If a tenant thinks that a rule is unreasonable, they can apply for a ruling from the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT). A hearing officer will hear both sides and decide whether or not the rule is reasonable. See Disputes for more information.

Tenant's Right to Quiet Enjoyment

A tenant has a right to a rental unit that is safe and fit to live in. If a tenant or landlord has concerns about a rental unit they may want to contact a municipal building inspector at the city or town hall where the rental unit is located, or a public health inspector.

A tenant is entitled to quiet enjoyment of the rental unit. This includes but is not limited to...

  • reasonable privacy
  • freedom from unreasonable disturbance including disturbances created by the landlord, another tenant of the landlord or a person permitted on the premises by the landlord or another tenant
  • exclusive possession of the premises, subject only to the landlord's right to enter under the circumstances outlined in the Act
  • use of the common areas for reasonable and lawful purposes, free from significant interference

A landlord cannot stop political candidates and people working for candidates from calling on tenants. Tenants have the right to display election advertising during an election campaign. The landlord can set reasonable conditions on the size and type of posters displayed and can prohibit them from being put up in common areas. Election posters must be removed within seven days following the election.

A landlord cannot take any of the tenant's belongings. A landlord cannot stop the tenant or someone the tenant has invited to visit from entering the rental unit or residential property. The only time a landlord can keep a tenant out of their place is when they have an order from the ORT. See Order of Possession by Landlord for more information.

Neither the landlord nor the tenant can change the locks on a rental unit unless they both agree to it. If the landlord changes the locks the tenant must be given new keys. The landlord can change the locks for access to common areas, without the tenant's consent, provided the tenant is given new keys or other means of access.

A landlord can enter a rental unit only under certain conditions set out in the Act. These include when...

  • the tenant agrees, either at the time of entry or within the past seven days
  • there is an emergency and the landlord must enter to protect life or property
  • it reasonably appears that the tenant has abandoned the rental unit
  • the landlord has an order from the ORT that authorizes the entry

A landlord can also give written notice to enter for a reasonable purpose. The notice must be given to the tenant in-person or posted on the door of the rental unit and mailed or sent electronically.

The notice must state when and why the landlord is entering. The time for entering can be up to a four-hour period. The time must be between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., but not on a Sunday or day of religious worship for the tenant. This notice must be given at least 24 hours in advance and not more than seven days before the landlord wants to enter.

Different rules apply if the tenant has given notice to move out. In this case the landlord only has to give the tenant two-hours' notice if they want to show the place to a prospective tenant. This shortened notice period applies to the last two months of a lease that is not going to be renewed.

The landlord can hand this two-hour notice to the tenant. The landlord can also phone or email to give notice, if the tenant has given them a phone number or email address. If the tenant has not given the landlord a phone number or email address, the landlord can enter and leave a notice on the door saying they entered to show the place. The landlord can also do this if they cannot reach the tenant by email or phone after a reasonable number of attempts.

If the landlord wants to show the rental unit to a prospective purchaser of the property, the landlord must give 24 hours' written notice or have the tenant's consent.

Cleaning and Repairs

Tenants and landlords are each responsible for certain cleaning and repairs.

A tenant must...

  • do the ordinary cleaning of their place (this will include the yard and outside of the building if the tenant rents the house and yard)
  • repair any damage they or their guests cause
  • not create any health hazards

If the tenant does not repair damage they or their guests cause, the landlord can end the tenancy by giving one month's notice. In this case the landlord must first give the tenant a warning and a reasonable amount of time to fix the situation before ending the tenancy. A tenant does not have to make repairs required because of reasonable wear and tear.

A landlord must...

  • keep the rental unit in a good state of repair and fit for the use and enjoyment of the tenant (even if the tenant knew the repairs were needed when they agreed to rent the place)
  • look after a yard that tenants share, such as the yard of an apartment building (the landlord and tenant can agree on a different arrangement for cleaning and repairs)
  • clean and repair any common areas (this might include hallways, entry areas, a shared laundry room and the outside of the building)
  • maintain any services, fixtures, facilities or appliances that are included in the rent (this might include heating, water, electricity, laundry facilities, and a fridge and stove)


It is important to remember that a tenant who thinks a rule is unreasonable must apply for a ruling from ORT about the reasonableness of the rule if they do not want to comply with the rule.

Landlords have the right to make rules prohibiting using, possessing, growing or selling cannabis in the rental unit. These rules must be reasonable, in writing and known to the tenant. With the recent change in cannabis laws what will be considered a reasonable rule concerning cannabis is yet to be defined. For example, a rule prohibiting smoking cannabis may be considered reasonable in the same way that a rule against smoking cigarettes would be. Similarly a rule against growing cannabis plants may be considered reasonable because of concerns about damage from moisture.

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