Repairs & Maintenance

Landlords and tenants share responsibility for maintaining the rental property. Failing to fulfill responsibilities could mean that one party has to reimburse the other for repair or maintenance expenses.

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Responsibilities for Repairs and Maintenance

Landlords must provide rental units that:

  • Meet health and safety standards required by law
  • Have all of the services and facilities outlined in the tenancy agreement
  • Are in good repair

Tenants are responsible for repairing damage caused by anyone living in or visiting the unit – including pets. Tenants must also maintain a reasonable standard of health and cleanliness in the unit and surrounding common areas like hallways, yards or laundry facilities. Tenants are not responsible for reasonable wear and tear from normal usage over time.

Landlords and tenants who rent both a manufactured home and a manufactured home site under a residential tenancy agreement also have these responsibilities.

Inspect the Rental Unit

At the beginning of a tenancy, a landlord and tenant must inspect (“walk through”) the rental unit together and complete a Condition Inspection Report (PDF, 1.6MB). All damages and concerns should be noted in the report – it’s a good idea to include photos, if possible. The report, along with any photos, is an official record of any damage in the unit before the tenant moved in – it can be submitted as evidence if there’s ever a dispute about the rental unit’s condition.

Emergency Repairs

Emergency repairs are necessary if health and safety of the building and property are at risk. This includes situations like:

  • Major leaks in pipes or roof
  • Damaged plumbing fixtures
  • Problems with the primary heating system
  • A malfunctioning electrical system
  • Damaged or defective locks that make the unit insecure

Here are some examples that are not considered emergencies:

  • A burned out stove element
  • A plugged sink, tub or shower
  • Mold around a window
  • Changing locks because keys are lost

Landlords must provide an emergency contact name and phone number – either in writing to each tenant or posted in a visible common area.

Tenants must contact the landlord or the designated contact person to report the emergency issue and have it repaired.

If there’s no response after two attempts and a reasonable amount of time has passed, the tenant may arrange to have the repairs done at a reasonable cost. While the repairs are underway, a landlord may decide to:

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

Landlords are required to reimburse tenants for emergency repairs. Tenants must submit receipts to their landlord, along with a written summary of what happened in order to receive payment. If this procedure is followed and the landlord does not cover the expenses, tenants can deduct the repair costs from the rent.

In the event that a 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 either:

Regular Repairs

Other regular or minor repairs can inconvenience tenants and may leave them feeling like the rental has lost value. The landlord is generally responsible for these repairs if the damage was not caused by the tenant, their pets or guests.

Tenants need to request repairs in writing and keep a copy for themselves. The document should clearly describe the problem and must allow the landlord a reasonable amount of time to fix it.

If the landlord doesn't make the repairs, the tenant may apply for dispute resolution to request an order the repairs to be made, for money to cover the inconvenience, or both. A tenant cannot make the repairs themselves and charge the landlord for the costs unless they have the landlord’s written agreement.

Standards of Maintenance

The Residential Tenancy Act requires landlords maintain their rental properties in a state that is suitable for occupancy – they must meet housing, safety and building standards required by law. However the Act does not outline specific requirements for building maintenance standards, such as what the correct temperature is for heating a building.

Local governments have the authority to establish and enforce standards of maintenance bylaws for buildings. Tenants may contact their local government to have municipal inspectors investigate their property to see if any conditions violate health or safety requirements.

Changes to Services or Facilities

Landlords must meet specific requirements when it comes to providing essential or non-essential services or access to facilities. For example, they must provide things like heat, water and electricity.

Tenants can dispute:

  • A landlord’s notice terminating or restricting a service or facility
  • The amount of rent reduction
  • Whether a service or facility is essential or non-essential

Contact us if you’re uncertain about who’s responsible for a repair or whether the landlord can stop providing a service or facility.

Responsibilities in Manufactured Home Park Tenancies

In mobile home parks, the owner of a manufactured home is considered the tenant. They are responsible for:

  • All repairs, unless it can be proven that the landlord was responsible for any damage
  • Maintaining a reasonable standard of health and cleanliness throughout the site and common areas

The landlord is responsible for maintaining any services or facilities within the park – for example, maintenance of common areas, roadways and septic systems.

A condition inspection (i.e. doing a “walk through”) is not required for manufactured home park tenancies.

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: September 23, 2017.

Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch