Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance will help forecast repairs needed and lower the likelihood of unexpected emergencies.

Some provinces require emergency contact information, even if it’s just the landlord, be posted in a visible place in the building.

Landlords are responsible for maintaining and repairing:

  • Appliances (fridge, stove, dishwasher, laundry — if they are included in rent)
  • Common areas (halls, lobbies, stairwells)
  • Elevators
  • Security systems
  • Swimming pools
  • Gym facilities
  • Laundry facilities
  • Garbage rooms

Tenants should not be involved in fixing minor repairs unless they have agreed to do so, or if they (or their guests) have caused the damage.

Even if a landlord doesn’t make any necessary repairs, a tenant can’t withhold paying rent. If you do, it can result in eviction.

For landlord-tenant disputes surrounding maintenance and repairs, contact your local rental authority or the Office of the Rentalsman, located in some provinces.

To find out how far in advance a landlord must give notice to enter a rental unit in your province or territory, please consult with the office in that province or territory.

Emergency repairs

Emergencies are considered those that impact the tenant’s health or safety, or put the building or property at risk. By law, landlords must handle and pay for all emergency repairs.

Tenants should always try to contact the landlord at least twice in the event of an emergency, and allow a reasonable amount of time for them to respond.

After that, they can call an external repair person to fix the problem. (See tips for tenants)

Emergency Repair

Non-Emergency Repair

Broken pipe(s) are flooding the premises

An interior door doesn’t close properly.

The heating system is not working and it’s cold outside.

A stove element is burnt out.

The sewage system is backing up into the premises.

The kitchen sink has a slow drain.

A defective lock lets anyone enter the unit without a key.

There is a minor leak in the roof.

A short circuit in the wiring is creating a risk of fire and/or electrocution.

There is a minor leak or dripping in the household plumbing.

The refrigerator supplied by the landlord isn’t working.

A garage door opener is not working, but manual access is still available.


There is a cracked pane in an upper window.

Household pests

Pests present serious health hazards to residents.

If a tenant is unable to get rid of them on their own, the landlord is responsible for hiring a professional exterminator who will try to use non-toxic methods to eliminate them if possible.

Common pests include:

  • Silverfish
  • Mice
  • Fleas
  • Cockroaches
  • Rats
  • Bedbugs
  • Carpenter ants

Many pest removal companies have information on their websites on what to look for, and tips for eliminating or preventing common pests in residences.
If you are considering renting a place that you suspect might have pests, ask to view the unit after dark or ask other tenants in the building if pests are a problem.


If you cannot reach the landlord in an emergency, you can authorize the repair work yourself.

Ask that the contractor bill the landlord directly. If they can’t or won’t, keep any receipts for items you paid for, and submit them to the landlord for reimbursement.

Avoid paying for anything that isn’t a true emergency as your landlord can refuse to pay you back.

If your belongings are damaged or destroyed because of a problem with the residence, your landlord isn’t responsible for replacing them. Always make sure you have rental unit content insurance.


Make sure the building you are renting complies with both local and provincial/territorial bylaws and building codes.

Municipal bylaws will stipulate guidelines and standards for: fire and building safety, zoning, and permits. Contact the main branch of your local municipality for more information.