Section 4 Maintenance & Repairs
Sub-Section 4.3 Landlord's Responsibilty for Repairs
Legislation

s. 59, 113, 154(1)10, 154(2)3, 179.1, The Residential Tenancies Act
Residential Tenancies Regulation, s.9(1)(b),9(2),10,26(1),26(2)
Neighbourhood Liveability By-law No. 1/2008


Definitions

Furniture: for this section, furniture includes furniture and appliances provided with the rental unit or residential complex. For example: bed, table, stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer.

Order to redirect rent: when the Branch orders a tenant or tenants to pay their rent to the Branch, instead of to the landlord; when the tenant receives an Order and pays the Branch, rent is considered paid.

Order to repair: an Order the Branch issues to a landlord, ordering the landlord to do repairs in a rental unit or residential complex; the Order includes a deadline to complete the work and a description of the work to be done.

Rental unit: any living accommodation, mobile home or site for a mobile home used or intended for use as rented residential premises.

Repair: for this section, a repair means to fix, install, provide or replace.

Tenant's Request for Repairs: a form a tenant completes asking the landlord to make necessary repairs to the rental unit or residential complex; the tenant gives the form to the landlord and to the Branch.


Policy

Before the Branch becomes involved in a request for repairs, a tenant must first ask the landlord to do the repairs. A tenant is responsible to tell a landlord when repairs are needed. A landlord needs to know so they can fix a problem before there’s any further damage or loss. Ideally, the tenant should give the landlord a written request to do the work.

A request for repairs can include repairs to furniture supplied with the unit.

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If the landlord does not do the repairs, the tenant may complete a Tenant's Request for Repairs form. The tenant fills out three copies of the form and gives one copy to the landlord and two copies to the Branch. A tenant may later add repairs to the original request, but only after giving both the Branch and the landlord the additional requests in writing. (See Compensation for Unreasonable Delay in Section 9).

Occasionally, the Branch may open a repair file if a tenant mentions a repair problem when objecting to a rent increase.

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Sometimes, to allow a landlord to do repairs, a tenant may need to move their furniture or personal belongings. A tenant is responsible to move small portable items and any other fragile belongings. For example: computer components, antique furniture. A tenant should try to move furniture whenever possible. If a tenant can’t move furniture, they should ask the landlord for help.

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When a tenant smokes, there may be a build-up of tar residue on the walls and ceiling. If a landlord is asked or ordered to paint a rental unit during a tenancy, it’s reasonable for the landlord to ask the tenant to wash the walls and ceiling to prepare them for painting. If a tenant doesn’t think the landlord’s request is reasonable, they can ask the Branch to decide. If the tenant refuses to wash the walls, the landlord can ask the Branch to decide what is reasonable.

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The requirements for screens and storm windows fall under municipal bylaws or The Public Health Act. For example: The City of Winnipeg Neighbourhood Liveability By-law No. 1/2008 states that screens must be provided in all habitable rooms from May 1 to November 1. The bylaw also states that storm windows must be provided for windows in all habitable rooms and basements from November 1 to April 30.

If a window is designed to accommodate a screen or storm window, the Branch uses the following guidelines:

  • A tenant in a single-family one-storey home is responsible for installing their own screens and/or storm windows. The landlord is responsible for providing the screens and/or storm windows.

  • A landlord is responsible to provide and install screens and/or storm windows for any multi-storey rental unit or residential complex.

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Before issuing an Order to Repair, the Branch will usually inspect the rental unit or residential complex. The Branch will not usually order a landlord to do any repairs that aren’t listed on the Tenant's Request for Repairs form.

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Sometimes the Branch may ask another authority to get involved with a repair request. For example: Environmental Health Services.

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A tenant is responsible to repair damage they or their guests cause. If a landlord says that the tenant caused damage, the Branch will investigate and decide if the tenant did the damage. A landlord may use a rental unit condition report or pictures to show the condition of the unit when the tenant moved in. If the tenant caused the damage and there is a health or safety concern, the Branch may order the landlord to do the repair. The landlord may then file a Claim for Compensation against the tenant for the cost of the repair.

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The Branch will not usually order a landlord to do repairs if the tenant owes rent. If the tenant owes rent, the landlord may give the tenant notice to move. In exceptional cases, if there is an immediate health or safety concern to tenants in a complex, the Branch may order the landlord to do the repair. For example: The tenant has damaged the smoke alarm in their unit creating a possible fire hazard for other tenants. The landlord may then file a Claim for Compensation against the tenant for the cost of the repair.

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If a landlord doesn’t comply with an Order to Repair, the Branch may issue an Order to Redirect Rent. The Branch redirects twice the amount of the original estimated cost of the repairs. The Branch does this to ensure there will be enough money to pay a contractor for the repairs. The Branch also charges an administration fee when redirecting rent. The amount of the fee is set by regulation.

When the repairs will cost more than $999.99, the Branch tries to get estimates from at least two contractors. However, in emergency situations, the Branch may hire a contractor without getting estimates.

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When the Branch hires a contractor, the Branch advises the landlord. If the landlord then does the repairs, the landlord is responsible for any costs of the contractor. For example: The contractor buys material to do the repairs, but the landlord does the work on their own. The landlord must compensate the contractor for the material.

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If the Branch issues an Order to Repair, and the tenant moves out before the landlord finishes the work, the Branch may:

  • enforce the Order to Repair by redirecting rent from the new tenant; or

  • order the landlord not to re-rent the unit until they do the repairs.

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If the Branch receives a request for repairs and the tenant moves out before the Branch issues an Order, the Branch gives the landlord a copy of the tenant’s request. The Branch encourages the landlord to do the repairs before renting the unit to a new tenant. If there are serious health or safety concerns, the Branch may order the landlord not to re-rent the unit until they do the repairs.

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The Branch enforces orders issued by the Residential Tenancies Commission or the Court of Appeal.

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The Branch also enforces final orders issued by other agencies under other Acts, regulations or bylaws. For example: The Public Health Act, the Neighbourhood Liveability By-law No. 1/2008. A final order is one where there is no appeal, the appeal period has ended or there is no further opportunity to appeal.

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Procedure

Overview

The tenant fills out a repair form to ask for repairs. The officer asks the tenant if they are planning to continue to live in the rental unit or, if there are rent arrears. The officer confirms with the landlord that the repairs need to be done. The officer may inspect the rental unit to be sure that repairs are needed.

If needed repairs are not done, the officer will issue an Order to Repair. If necessary, the officer will hire a contractor to make sure that the repairs are completed.


Steps ▼

1.When an officer receives a tenant’s request for repairs, the officer asks the tenant if they are planning to continue the tenancy and if there are any rent arrears.

If the tenant plans to move, the officer may still proceed with the tenant’s request, depending on what needs to be repaired and when the tenant is moving. In any case, the officer makes sure the landlord has a copy of the repair request.

If there are rent arrears, the officer will tell the tenant that the Branch can’t proceed with the file until the rent is paid, unless there is an immediate health or safety risk.

2.If the tenant is planning to stay in the unit and has paid their rent, the officer contacts the landlord to go over the list of repairs, and to find out if the landlord has done the repairs or plans to do them.

3.The officer encourages the landlord to inspect the rental unit or residential complex to decide if the repairs are necessary. The officer may also inspect.

4.If the officer decides that the repair is not needed or that the tenant is responsible for the damage, they will send a written decision to both the tenant and landlord denying the request for repairs. The tenant can appeal this decision. If the tenant appeals, the officer attends the appeal hearing to provide information on the Branch’s file and asks the Residential Tenancies Commission to confirm the Branch’s decision.

5.If the officer decides that the repair is needed and the landlord agrees to do it, the officer and the landlord set a date for the repair to be finished.

6.If the landlord refuses to repair, or doesn’t do the repair properly by the agreed upon deadline, the officer may issue an Order to the landlord to complete the repairs by a specific date. The landlord can appeal this Order. If the landlord appeals, the officer attends the hearing to provide information on the Branch’s file and asks the Residential Tenancies Commission to confirm the Branch’s decision.

7.If the landlord does the repair, the officer may inspect to make sure the work is done properly.

8.If the landlord doesn’t appeal the Order to repair and doesn’t make the repairs by the date on the Order, the officer orders the tenant who asked for the repairs to pay the rent to the Branch. This is called redirecting rent. In some cases, other tenants in the complex will also be asked to pay rent to the Branch.

If the landlord appeals the Order to repair, the officer doesn’t do anything more on the file until the Residential Tenancies Commission makes a decision. The officer can’t redirect rent until after the appeal is decided.

If the landlord appeals the rent redirect Order, the tenant continues to pay rent to the Branch. If the repair is not an emergency, the repair is not done until the rent redirect Order appeal is decided.

9.The officer gets estimates from contractors and hires people to do the repairs. The officer tells the landlord once they’ve hired someone.

10.The officer inspects the work when it is complete to make sure the work has been done properly. The contractor is paid from the redirected rent.

11.The landlord must pay an administration fee when a contractor is hired to do the repair. The officer uses The Residential Tenancies Regulation to calculate the fee. This fee is deducted from the redirected rent and any balance is returned to the landlord.

12.In an emergency, an officer may authorize the tenant to make the repairs. The officer can then make an Order allowing the tenant to recover the cost of the repair from any rent due to the landlord. This would only occur if the landlord cannot be reached, or refuses to do a repair that is clearly the landlord’s responsibility.


Forms & Form Letters


X-Referencing

For information on maintaining the appearance of a rental unit, see this section.
For details on emergency repairs, see Urgent Repairs in this section.
To learn more about compensation for unreasonable delay, see Section 9 - Claims

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Policy Developed

September, 1992*


Last Revision

May, 2015


Other Resources

None


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