Landlords have to maintain rental premises in a good state of repair and fit for habitation. Tenants must repair damages that they cause through their actions or neglect. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, you may have to ask the other to make repairs.
If you have asked to have a repair completed without success, you should make your requests in writing. Keep a copy as a record of your request.
List each item you need fixed. For each item, give a date that provides a reasonable opportunity to complete that task. Be reasonable in responding to requests for more time. If the work gets done, the problem is solved. If not, you may have to apply for a remedy.
A tenant may not withhold rent to get repairs done. Unpaid rent is a basis for eviction. If you are a tenant, and you can’t get the landlord to address problems, you may apply to the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) for an order that may direct the landlord to:
- make repairs;
- compensate you for loss or inconvenience;
- reduce the rent until problems are fixed or services provided; or
- do something else that is fair in the circumstances.
If a tenant does not complete repairs within a reasonable time after a written request from the landlord, the landlord may also apply to the ORT for an order directing the tenant to make repairs or to compensate the landlord for the cost of repairs. Landlords may also serve the tenant with a Notice to Vacate form, using wording like “failure to repair [describe repairs] within a reasonable time after a written request to do so given on [date]” as the reason for the eviction. If the tenant disputes the notice, the landlord may use the Application for Claim form to apply to the ORT for an order for possession.
Applying for an Order Directing Repairs
When applying for an order directing repairs:
- Fill out the Application for Claim form in its entirety.
- Gather all information and documents about the repairs and the requests you have made:
Deliver your application and supporting documents together with a fee of $50.00 to the ORT.
When your application and fee are received, you will receive a hearing notice from ORT with the date and time for the hearing.
- your written request;
- if a building inspector or health inspector was called, please bring information to the ORT as to who conducted the inspection and the date of the inspection. You can ask for a subpoena to have these documents produced for the hearing;
- other letters such as opinions from building contractors or sub trades;
- invoices or bills for any expenses that you have incurred; and
- anything else that explains your case.
- You must fill out and sign the form to explain all of your claims clearly.
- Make two copies of the completed form.
- You must then serve a copy of the hearing notice on your tenant or landlord, either by delivering it directly in person or by other allowed means.
- Once you have served the hearing notice, fill out a Certificate of Service on a Landlord if you are a tenant, or a Certificate of Service on a Tenant if you are a landlord.
- Attach a copy of the hearing notice to the Certificate of Service.
- Deliver both to the ORT immediately.
- Review the information on this website about preparing for a hearing.
- Attend the hearing to present your case.
A decision will be made and mailed to parties.
Rights and Obligations of Tenant
- First and most importantly, you need to tell your landlord so the landlord can take appropriate action to exterminate the pests.
- You have a right to habitable premises, which means accommodation free from infestations of pests.
- The landlord must act promptly to address the problem.
- You must co-operate with the landlord's efforts to exterminate pests.
- In severe cases that cannot be remedied quickly, and in all cases when the landlord does not take reasonable steps to exterminate the pests, you may be able to terminate the tenancy immediately for cause.
- Talk to your landlord and work with your landlord to solve the problem.
Rights and Obligations of Landlord
- When you rent a place for people to live, you have a contractual and statutory obligation to provide habitable premises to the tenants.
- Premises infested with pests are not habitable and you may be liable to pay damages to the tenant for breach of your contractual commitment to provide habitable premises.
- If you can show that the tenant caused the infestation:
- You may be relieved of liability for damages; and
- The tenant may be liable to pay your costs and damages.
- Encouraging tenants to report problems early so you can act quickly and prevent the problem from spreading protects your investment.
- Keep your tenants informed and work with the tenant to solve the problem.
- Early treatment of pests is more likely to succeed. Making tenants aware that you will bear the cost of treatment encourages early reporting, successful treatment and protects your investment.
- The Bed Bug Resource is for use by housing authorities and provides valuable guidance for all landlords.