Repairs and maintenance
Landlords are responsible for making sure the rental unit is in good repair.
Last updated: February 24, 2023
On this page
- Landlord and tenant responsibilities
- Inspect the unit
- Emergency repairs
- Regular repairs
- Standards of maintenance
- Changes to services or facilities
- I need help
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 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
- 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.
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.
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
- Changing locks because of lost keys
Make a regular repair request instead.
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:
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.
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.
Learn when and how landlords can change the services and facilities that are part of the tenancy.
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