What Are Landlord Responsibilities for Maintenance Issues | Kelowna Landlord Advice - Article Banner

If you own a rental property in BC, you need to know which maintenance issues you’re responsible for as a landlord, and which issues your tenants are responsible for.

With reference to the Residential Tenancy Agreement in BC, this blog shows you exactly what you need to manage if you own a rental unit in British Columbia, Canada.

Maintenance in BC’s Residential Tenancy Agreement

Section 10.1(a) of the standard Residential Tenancy Agreement in BC states that:

The landlord must provide and maintain the residential property in a reasonable state of decoration and repair, suitable for occupation by a tenant. The landlord must comply with health, safety and housing standards required by law.

Comply With Safety, Health, and Habitability Standards

Your first and most important responsibility as a landlord in BC is to make sure the property is habitable. Your tenants will expect to move into a home that’s safe and functional. Before they move in, conduct a thorough inspection to look for any deferred maintenance or issues that may jeopardize your resident’s health and safety.

Landlords in BC are generally responsible for:

  • Checking for potential leaks and plumbing issues with sinks, toilets, and tubs
  • Keeping the primary heating system in working order
  • Testing each appliance to make sure it works
  • Plugging something into each outlet to make sure the electricity works
  • Inspecting exterior lighting
  • Checking that the doors and windows lock, open, and close properly
  • Cutting, pruning, and trimming trees, hedges, or bushes that impede a tenant’s view of the outside
  • Looking for hazards like loose railings or broken steps
  • Installing and testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • For multi-unit residential complexes: routine yard maintenance, such as cutting grass and clearing snow
  • Insect and pest infestations, such as bed bugs
  • Anything included in the tenancy agreement, such as appliances (fridge, stove, laundry facilities, security system, furniture, garage, storage facilities).

Respond Immediately to Emergency Maintenance Issues

If something goes wrong at the property, be prepared to respond immediately. Tenants will need to know how to get in touch with you or your property managers. Make sure they understand the process of identifying and reporting an emergency. A clogged drain does not require a phone call in the middle of the night, but a leak from a burst pipe that is flooding the home certainly does. You’ll want them to call emergency services first if anyone is in danger, and then get in touch with you or your property management company.

Be Responsive With Routine Repairs

Landlords are also responsible for taking care of general issues around the home that are deteriorating or breaking down due to wear and tear. Your residents will be responsible for anything they damage, including problems that occur due to misuse or neglect. But, if something breaks because it’s old, you are the party responsible for making the repair. In British Columbia, tenants are not responsible for making repairs related to reasonable wear and tear (Section 32[4] of the Residential Tenancy Act).

Don’t put these things off. If you wait too long to make a minor repair, you have a good chance of spending more time and money on it later.

property maintenanceLandlords are also responsible for preventative maintenance. Have your major heating and cooling systems inspected and serviced annually. Pest control should be dealt with immediately to avoid bigger issues. While in many cases lawn maintenance and snow removal are the tenants responsibility ensure to do regular inspections to look for larger issues in the yard. Not only are these things your responsibility, but they’re also an important part of protecting your investment.


Tenant Responsibilities in BC

When renting a residential property in British Columbia, tenants have specific responsibilities outlined by the Residential Tenancy Act.

  • Paying Rent and Utilities:
    Tenants are obligated to pay their rent and utility bills promptly and in full.
  • Condition Inspection:
    Before moving in and after moving out, tenants should conduct a condition inspection with their landlord. This helps document the state of the rental unit and any existing damages.
  • Reasonable Maintenance & Reasonable Health:
    Tenants are responsible for maintaining the rental unit in a healthy condition. “Maintain reasonable health” in rental units means keeping carpets, walls, and baseboards clean. Tenants also need to address any minor repairs that arise during their tenancy – such as replacing light bulbs and repainting at reasonable intervals. However, it’s essential to note that this responsibility does not extend to normal wear and tear.
  • Reporting Repairs:
    If tenants notice any necessary repairs (such as issues with pests like mice, cockroaches, or bedbugs), they must promptly inform the landlord.
  • Quiet Enjoyment:
    Tenants have the right to live peacefully in their rental unit without unnecessary disturbances from others. This concept is known as “quiet enjoyment.” In multi-family buildings, it is the tenant’s responsibility to ensure they maintain a reasonable level of peace and quiet within the premises.

If landlords and tenants in British Columbia have a disagreement about repairs, maintenance, or the security deposit, they can get help from the Residential Tenancy Branch, a governmental organization that mediates disputes and guides towards a fair solution. In cases where disputes escalate, the Residential Tenancy Branch may facilitate a dispute resolution hearing, potentially leading to monetary compensation for the affected party.

We can help with your maintenance process and questions. Contact our team at Vantage West Property Management.