According to the Residential Tenancy Act, a landlord must ensure that a place is "suitable for occupation". Your landlord is responsible for repairing:
- walls, floors, ceilings
- fire doors and fire escapes
- infestations and pests (e.g. bed bugs)
Anything included in your rent must also be maintained. For example, your landlord is responsible for repairing:
- laundry facilities
- furniture included in your rent
- garages and storage shed
You must keep your place reasonably clean and notify your landlord in writing when something needs to be repaired. If you don't notify your landlord and the problem gets worse, you could be held responsible.
You are not responsible for reasonable wear and tear -- that is, what happens over time with normal use. However, if you or one of your guests causes damage beyond wear and tear, you are responsible for the damage.
Asking for Repairs
When something needs to be repaired, notify your landlord in writing and keep a copy for yourself. A sample demand letter can be found on chapter 5, page 32 of our Tenant Survival Guide. Also, remember to take photographs and get witnesses. If your landlord refuses to fix the problem, you can use this evidence in a dispute resolution hearing where your landlord can be ordered to make the repair and provide you with compensation (e.g. reduced rent).
Caution: Don't withhold rent! If you do this without a dispute resolution officer's permission, you could be evicted for non-payment of rent. It is always a good idea to speak to an Information Officer at the Residential Tenancy Branch before witholding rent (and remember to get their name). You may need to apply for a dispute resolution hearing.
More Information on Repairs
Fore further information on repairs, including what happens during emergencies and your rights when services/facilities are terminated, see:
Other useful links:
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