The Complete List of Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities (2020 Edition)

Property Maintenance Responsibilities – Landlords vs Tenants

Renters often get a bad rap – a reputation for being messy, careless and disrespectful to rental properties. However, this is not necessarily the case. Instead, this can stem from confusion over who is responsible for what.

First and foremost, the upkeep of a rental property applies to both parties – landlords and tenants alike. Thus, playing your part is key to enjoying your apartment and helps ensure a landlord treats you better!

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Here’s a breakdown of common landlord and tenant responsibilities:

Is my landlord responsible for bed bugs?

Yes, your landlord must ensure a property is pest free before you move in and ensure there are no possible entry points for pests. Once you’ve moved in, should pests appear, contact your landlord to discuss and remedy the situation immediately.

Are landlords responsible for door locks?

Landlords are responsible for changing the locks in the beginning of the tenancy if requested by the tenant. Landlords are also responsible for providing and maintaining locks throughout the unit, including exterior door locks and windows. 

Who is responsible for smoke detectors in a rental property?

Smoke detectors are a seemingly small concern, but their implications are big and important. A landlord is required to replace batteries in fire alarms but, as a tenant, you must ensure they remain active. If alarm starts to sound, indicating low battery or other malfunction, contact your landlord immediately to let them know.  A landlord must investigate this immediately. Insurance policies hinge upon the presence of a working fire prevention plan which, of course, includes smoke detectors. The expectation is that landlords conduct an annual test of fire alarms and replace batteries as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Is my landlord responsible for water leaks?

In the case of flooding or less serious water damage, your landlord is responsible for the repairs. Communicate the issue immediately to minimize damage and impact to the property and your life.

Who is responsible for appliances in a rental property?

The basic maintenance of appliances is the domain of landlords as is the replacement or repairs related to standard wear and tear; however, if the tenant causes the damage, the tenant is responsible for any repair costs.

Who is responsible for heating system issues?

The landlord is responsible for inspecting and keeping up with scheduled services of the furnace.  Along with regular maintenance of replacing furnace filters, cleaning heating ducts as needed.

Is tenant responsible for garbage?

Yes! Seems basic, but it must be reiterated. Garbage disposal is a tenant’s responsibility. Make sure you ask your landlord where garbage chutes, recycling bins, and building garbage facilities are located and on what day the garbage is picked up or refer to you municipality’s website for the schedule.

Is tenant responsible for lawn maintenance?

Generally, the tenant in a single-family home or townhome is responsible for basic yard work including cutting the grass and basic weeding. The landlord should make these expectations clear to the tenant and indicate where the necessary tools are for performing these tasks. The tenant shouldn’t embark on any major landscaping efforts (i.e. digging new flower beds etc.) without consulting the landlord.  

Are tenants responsible for cleaning the rental property?

Tenants must maintain “reasonable health, cleanliness
and sanitary standards
” throughout the rental property. Tenants are responsible for general up keeping of the rental property during the tenancy, and responsible for repairs of damages caused by the tenant or their guests. Tenants do not hold any responsibility for wear and tear of the rental property, that’s a landlords responsibility.

Who is responsible for standard fuses in the rental property?

Tenants are responsible for replacing all standard fuses (e.g stove & oven) in the rental unit, unless it was caused by a problem with the stove or electrical system. Tenants are also responsible for ensuring all fuses are working properly before the end of a tenancy.

Who is responsible for snow removal at a rental property?

It is the tenant’s responsibility to adhere to civic bylaws and clear snow from walkways and sidewalks around a property (townhomes, single family homes). However, this only applies to homes and not apartment buildings where a building manager is typically responsible for snow removal.

Are tenants responsible for changing light bulbs and fuses?

Before moving in, a landlord should make sure all light bulbs and fuses are in working order. Once you are in, you will be responsible for replacing light bulbs and standard fuses unless caused by a malfunctioning electrical system, in which case, that is the landlord’s responsibility.

Is it a landlords responsibility to paint?

Landlords are responsible for all interior paining needs for the interior of a unit, at reasonable intervals. However, tenants are responsible for any paint job required to fix damages caused during the tenancy. 

Is it a landlord or tenant responsibility for cleaning and maintaining the fireplace?

Landlords are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the fireplace at reasonable intervals. If tenants have used the fireplace, they are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the fireplace before the end of the tenancy.

Is a landlord responsible for replacing carpet?

Landlords are responsible for providing tenants with clean carpets at the beginning of the tenancy. Throughout the tenancy, tenants are responsible for routine carpet cleaning and maintenance. At the end of the tenancy, tenants may be expected to steam clean or shampoo the carpets, regardless of the length of the tenancy.

Rental Property - What are landlords responsible for?
Landlord Quick Tip: Top maintenance issues landlords are responsible for
Rental Property - What are tenants responsible for?
Renter Quick Tip: Top maintenance & repairs renters are responsible for

>> If you are looking to service, upgrade, or replace a heating system, be sure to secure a no-commitment, free online quote from Onles.

Communication is key – Contact your landlord

If you are ever in doubt over the division of labour, it is always best to contact the landlord even if it is simply to ask permission to perform a repair or contact a service provider. Oftentimes, landlords rely on a tried and tested list of repairmen and will recommend someone. It is also important to discuss payment responsibilities.

Every province has slightly different guidelines governing responsibilities. Make sure you research your legal obligations and regularly discuss expectations with your landlord. In BC, refer to the Policy Guidelines – Landlord and Tenants Responsibilities.

Want to see more? Discover our Tenant Rental Resource section for more tips.

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Kristina Ikavalko

Kristina Ikavalko

Creative Content Creator at

Creative Content Creator for, based in Vancouver. [Read Full Bio]

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