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Rental Repairs & Maintenance – Who is Responsible for What?

Rental Repairs and Maintenance Responsibilities

You’ve signed a lease on a new apartment and you’re excited about your new digs…but what if things don’t work according to plan. The electrical outlet that will power your beloved Nespresso machine is dead or the sink perpetually drips? What to do? Well, before moving in, be sure to conduct your own inspection preferably alongside a property manager or landlord. Make note of things that aren’t functioning properly, taking photos where it makes sense. In BC, the Condition Inspection Report is the document you should use to record these types of issues. Secure a commitment to have them addressed and keep the communication lines open and friendly between you and the landlord and/or property manager. This will go a long way to ensuring issues are dealt with in a timely fashion.

Keep in mind, the landlord is required to:

  • Maintain the unit in a good state of repair;
  • Maintain appliances such as washers, dryers, stoves, and refrigerators;
  • Maintain heating sources;
  • Maintain septic/water sources;
  • Ensure electrical function.

For a clear description of Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities, please review the Residential Tenancy Policy Guideline.

Man Repairing Drywall
Photo: @rawpixel

Here are some additional things you need to know about rentals and repairs.

  • When it comes to conducting repairs, it is best to step away – hire a professional or, better yet, have your property manager hire one. This is a perk of renting. Repairs are taken care of by someone else.
  • If the repair is the result of normal wear and tear or related to plumbing or electricity, your landlord will be on the dime to pay for it. If, however, you dropped your dumbbell during a workout, the damage to the floor will be your responsibility.
  • Generally speaking, if you break it, you pay. If it stops working, then it is probably due to wear and tear and is the landlord’s duty to address.

Can maintenance be performed when you aren’t home?

Yes, but the property manager needs to let you know when it will take place and how long it will take. If it is an unexpected issue, like a leak, typically maintenance will leave a note on your door indicating they had been in your unit for this purpose.

Handyman Wearing Tool Belt

What if a repair takes too long or never happens?

You’ve notified the property manager or landlord of a repair requirement. You’ve sent emails, left voicemails and spoken to them and yet no action has been taken to address the problem. You can contact tenant advocacy groups like the Residential Tenancy Branch or you could let the landlord know that you will arrange for the repair but will deduct the cost from your next rent payment. If this becomes a chronic issue, you may want to seek legal counsel and/or give notice and find a better-managed place to live!

What does the law say?

Stay abreast of the legal requirements as they pertain to repairs outlined here by the BC Residential Tenancy Branch.

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