Who is responsible for repairs to my rental unit?

Your landlord is responsible for keeping your rental unit in a condition that is safe for your health and wellbeing. They must repair anything that is included in your lease agreement (i.e. appliances), and any damage that is considered reasonable wear and tear from normal use; this does not include damage that is done by the tenants or their guests. For example, if your refrigerator motor becomes worn out and stops working, your landlord must fix it.

Regular repairs caused directly by the tenant or their guests are the responsibility of the tenant. For example, if you have a party and one of your guests breaks the refrigerator door, your landlord is not responsible for fixing it. Your landlord is also not responsible for repairs to any of your personal belongings.

For more information on maintenance and repairs, click here.

How do I get repairs completed?

To have something in your rental unit repaired contact your landlord about the problem immediately. Write down the date and time you spoke to your landlord. Your landlord will then be responsible for scheduling a time for the repair. If your landlord does not repair the problem after you contact them you should proceed to send a letter or email in writing. Putting the request in writing gives you a record of your request in case your landlord does not respond in a timely manner. If your landlord still does not repair the damage you can file for dispute resolution with the Residential Tenancy Branch of British Columbia. For more information, see the Dispute Resolution section.

Emergency Repairs

If you have a repair that requires immediate attention such as your electrical failure, leaks in your water pipes, or a blocked water or sewer pipe, contact the following individuals in order until the repair is completed:

  1. Emergency Contact
    Immediately contact the emergency contact person for your rental unit. You landlord will have provided you with this contact information when you moved in. If you do not have an emergency contact number call your landlord. You must attempt to contact your emergency contact at least two times.
  2. Landlord
    If you do not have an emergency contact number call your landlord. You must attempt to contact you landlord at least two times.
  3. Repair Service
    If after two attempts to contact your emergency contact person and your landlord, you can contact an independent repair service to fix the problem.

In the case of contacting a repair service keep all receipts, and make copies for your landlord. Your landlord is required to reimburse your for any emergency repair costs, but you must provide a record of those costs. If your landlord does not reimburse you for emergency repairs, you may deduct the cost from the following month’s rent. For example, if your monthly rent is $600 and you are not reimbursed for a $400 repair of a burst water pipe, you may pay $200 for rent the following month.

Be careful to keep all the records of the repair costs. Your landlord cannot evict you for deducting the costs of an emergency repair, however you can be evicted for not paying your rent so you must have proof of the repair costs.