Repairs and maintenance

Landlords are responsible for making sure the rental unit is in good repair.

Last updated: February 24, 2023

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Landlords must ensure the rental unit: 

  • Meets health and safety standards required by law
  • Has all the services and facilities outlined in the tenancy agreement
  • Is in good repair 

Landlords must provide an emergency contact 

Landlords must provide an emergency contact name and phone number. They can give this contact to each tenant in writing or post it in a visible spot in a common area. 

Manufactured home parks 

Manufactured home park landlords must maintain the services and facilities in the park. These include: 

  • Common areas 
  • Roadways 
  • Septic systems 


Tenants are responsible for: 

  • Repairing damage caused by people and pets living in or visiting the unit 
  • Keeping the unit and surrounding common areas reasonably clean and healthy 

Surrounding common areas can include hallways, yards and laundry facilities.  

Tenants are not responsible for reasonable wear and tear from normal use over time.  

Inspect the unit 

Landlords and tenants must inspect the unit together at the beginning of the tenancy. The inspection report can be evidence if there is a dispute about the condition of the rental unit.  

If the condition inspection process isn’t done properly: 

  • The landlord can’t claim against the security deposit if there is damage to the unit
  • The tenant can lose the right to have their security deposit returned

Learn more about condition inspections. 

Manufactured home parks 

Landlords and tenants in manufactured home parks don't need to do a condition inspection.

Emergency repairs

This content is a summary of Section 33 of the Residential Tenancy Act. It is not legal advice and does not provide an interpretation of the law. In the event of any conflict or difference between this webpage and the Act, the Act is correct and legal and must be followed. 

A repair is an emergency when the health and safety of the building and property are at risk.  

Examples of emergency repairs 

Some examples of things you can request emergency repairs for:   

  • Major leaks in pipes 
  • Major leaks in the roof 
  • Damaged plumbing fixtures 
  • Problems with the main heating system 
  • Electrical system issues 
  • Damaged or defective locks that make the unit insecure 

Repairs that aren't an emergency 

Some repair requests may be inconvenient, but are not an emergency. Do not make an emergency repair request for: 

  • Burned-out stove elements 
  • A plugged sink, tub or shower 
  • Mold  
  • Changing locks because of lost keys 

Make a regular repair request instead.  

Requesting emergency repairs 

Tenants must contact the landlord or their contact person to report the emergency and ask for repairs.  

If the landlord or contact person doesn't respond, the tenant must: 

  • Make two attempts to phone them at the emergency contact number given 
  • Allow a reasonable amount of time to pass.  

Once the tenant has done this, they may arrange to have the repairs done at a reasonable cost.  

Paying for repairs 

Landlords must pay for emergency repairs.  

If the landlord was not available to arrange the emergency repairs, the landlord must reimburse the tenant. If the tenant has arranged repairs and they are underway, the landlord may decide to:  

  • Take over the repairs and pay for work up to that point 
  • Allow the repairs to continue and reimburse the tenant for the full cost 

Requesting reimbursement for emergency repairs 

When requesting reimbursement for emergency repairs, tenants must send the landlord: 

  • All receipts 
  • A written summary of what happened 

If the landlord does not cover the costs after the tenant provides the receipt and summary, the tenant can deduct the costs from the rent. The tenant should send a note with the rent payment that lets the landlord know why they have paid less rent.  

Landlord disagrees with tenant 

If the tenant deducts repair costs from the rent and the landlord believes: 

  • The costs were too high,
  • The repairs were unnecessary, or 
  • The tenant caused the problem that needed to be repaired 

The landlord can:  

Regular repairs and maintenance 

The landlord is responsible for regular repairs and maintenance. Landlords are not responsible for damage caused by the tenant, their pets or guests.  

Requesting regular repairs 

Tenants must request repairs in writing. The request should describe the problem and allow the landlord a reasonable amount of time to fix it.  

Tenants should keep a copy of the repair request.  

If the landlord doesn't make the repairs 

If the landlord does not make the repairs, the tenant may apply for dispute resolution to request:  

  • An order for the repairs to be made 
  • Money to cover the inconvenience 

Tenants must have the landlord's written agreement if they want to make repairs themselves and charge the landlord for the costs.  

Standards of maintenance 

Local governments set and enforce specific rules for building maintenance. B.C. tenancy law says landlords must follow those rules.  

If a tenant has concerns about their building's health and safety, they can ask their local government for an inspection.  

Changes to services or facilities 

Learn when and how landlords can change the services and facilities that are part of the tenancy.

I need help

Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch if you have questions about a tenancy. 

or call: 1-800-665-8779 Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm

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