The Residential Tenancy Act says that landlords must ensure that their rental properties:
- comply with health, housing, and safety standards required by law; and
- are suitable for occupation – factoring in the age, character, and location of the unit.
This means that it is your landlord’s job to take care of most repair and maintenance issues related to your tenancy. For example, landlords are generally responsible for the following:
- heating, plumbing, and electricity;
- walls, floors, and ceilings;
- locks, keys, access devices, and intercoms;
- light fixtures in common areas;
- fire doors, fire escapes, and smoke detectors;
- painting at reasonable intervals;
- cleaning the outside of windows at reasonable intervals;
- routine yard maintenance, such as cutting grass and clearing snow, in multi-unit complexes;
- tree cutting and pruning;
- insect and pest infestations, such as bed bugs;
- serious mold issues; and
- anything else that has been included as part of a tenancy agreement, such as appliances.
Asking for Repairs
Notify your landlord in writing as soon as possible when something in your rental unit needs to be fixed. If you delay and the problem gets worse, you could be held responsible for at least some of the related costs – even if the original problem was not your fault. For example, if you do not promptly report bed bugs and the infestation spreads, you may have to help pay for the treatment.
For all types of repairs, it is important to document not only the problem that needs to be fixed, but also your attempts to notify your landlord in writing. If they refuse to address the issue within a reasonable period, the next step is to apply for a repair order through the Residential Tenancy Branch’s dispute resolution service. If you can submit clear and relevant evidence such as photos, videos, and complaint letters, an arbitrator can order your landlord to make the repair. In addition, you can apply for monetary compensation from your landlord for ignoring your written request, as well as a rent reduction until the repair has been completed.