Section 4

Maintenance & Repairs

Sub-Section 4.8

Septic, Water and Oil Tanks


s. 59(1), The Residential Tenancies Act
The Public Health Act
Local Maintenance and Occupancy Bylaws


Tenancy agreement: a contract between a landlord and a tenant that sets out the basic rules for living in a rental unit. It can be written, oral or implied.


If the tenancy agreement doesn’t state who is responsible for emptying a septic tank or field or filling a water or oil tank, the Branch uses the following guidelines:

A tenant is responsible for:

  • emptying a septic tank that has no field;

  • leaving water, oil and septic tanks in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy. For example: If the water tank was full when the tenant moved in, they should fill it before they move out.


A landlord is responsible for:

  • emptying a septic tank with a field because it’s part of a larger, more complex water and plumbing system;

  • winterizing the field; For example: with a snow fence or straw bales.

  • removing the material used for the winterizing.



This policy is included as information for landlords, tenants and officers. If a tenant and landlord aren’t able to solve a problem with septic, water or oil tanks on their own, they can ask the Branch for help.

Steps ▼

1.The officer encourages the tenant and landlord to share information, and to discuss the problem, to try to come to an agreement.

2.If the landlord and tenant can’t agree on a request involving a septic, water or oil tank, the officer determines if the request is reasonable. If the officer decides the request is not reasonable, the officer ssues a decision denying the request.

3.If the officer decides the request is reasonable, the officer follows the procedures under Landlord’s Responsibility for Repairs.

Forms & Form Letters


For information on mediation, see Section 1.

Policy Developed

September, 1992

Last Revision

July, 2023

Other Resources




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