What maintenance are landlords responsible for?

  2 minutes

Repairs and maintenance of a rental home is inevitable. Whether from normal wear and tear or accidental damage, making sure your property is up to par with living standards is important. As a landlord you should know what you are (and not) responsible for according to the Residential Tenancy Act.

Regular repairs and maintenance

As a landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure that if you have a renter in your home that the space is suitable for occupation. This means that your unit must comply with the health, safety and housing standards required by law. As a general rule, the following items are considered to always be in the landlords purview:

  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing systems
  • Heating systems
  • Door locks
  • Structural items
    • Ceilings
    • Floors
    • Walls 

Should you fail to respond to tenant’s notice for repair (submitted verbally or in writing), you could be ordered to follow through with the request and also pay compensation to the tenant. 

In addition to the services above, a landlord may also be responsible for other items in the home such as furniture and appliances if they were included in the rental agreement. 

So what are tenants responsible for in regards to your rental property? The day-to-day upkeep such as keeping the home clean and notifying you of any required repairs are the main responsibility of your tenants. 

There are a few exceptions to these rules, such as if the damage to the property was intentionally caused by the tenant. Any damages by pets or tenant’s visitors to the unit will also be their responsibility to repair. 

Emergency repairs

In case of an emergency repair, as a landlord, it is your responsibility to provide your tenant an emergency contact. Should an emergency occur, such as a burst pipe for example, and your tenant could not reach you or the emergency contact, then they have the right to proceed with the repairs on their own (at a reasonable cost). You must then fully reimburse them for all repairs.

Pest control

It is the tenant’s responsibility to report any signs of infestation as soon as possible. However, it is up to the landlord to make sure that proper action is taken to try and eliminate it. If the tenant does not cooperate with ongoing preventative pest control instructions, they could face eviction. For example, incase of a bed bug infestation, tenants should:

  • Clean everything they can : clothes, blankets, towels. The dryer should also be at its max to kill anything 
  • Wrap and seal the mattress, box spring, and pillows
  • Use reusable bags to store the clothes, blankets and towels  

Should a tenant fail to follow preventative actions such as these then a landlord can argue that it is the tenant’s responsibility remedy and future outbreaks. 

If you still have questions about what your responsibilities are for repairs and maintenance as a landlord, please refer to Section 32 of the Residential Tenancy Act.

Should you need to contact a vendor to do repairs, check out our blog on what to keep in mind when selecting one.

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