Landlord or tenant: who is responsible for what?

2 minute read Published on Aug 25, 2016 by BrokerLink Communications

Landlord or tenant: who is responsible for what?

Whether you are a first-time renter, long-term tenant, building manager or landlord, we all play a part in keeping our living spaces in good condition. At times it can be unclear who is responsible for what in a shared property. Here is a simple breakdown of tenant and landlord responsibilities:

Tenant Landlord
Paying the full amount of rent on time. Maintaining common areas such as the driveway.
Preventing damage of the rental premises. Making sure that the property is habitable (in other words, pest-free and in good state of repairs), complying with health, safety, house and maintenance standards.
Repairing damage caused by tenant or someone the tenant has allowed on the premises. Not intruding on the tenant's premises beyond what is necessary to fulfil landlord responsibilities.
Following the rules laid out in the rental agreement form. Providing 24 hours notice to tenant(s) when planning to enter the premises.
Not performing or conducting illegal activities on the property. Ensuring there is access to vital services like heat, water, and electricity.
Contacting the landlord as soon as possible when a serious problem arises involving repairs or services.  

For more information, view the Alberta provincial tenancies act and Ontario's rental rights. Additionally, you can look up your local residential tenancies act online from any search engine.

Who is responsible for repairs?

It is important to know what to do in the event of repairs or damage in the rental unit. Here is a four step guide to help you:

  1. Know what the landlord is responsible for and what the tenant is responsible for.
    In most cases your landlord, building manager or superintendent is responsible for all emergency repairs, as well as the repairs and maintenance for major appliances that your apartment came with. Repairs to your own damaged belongings and appliances will be at your own expense.
  2. Call or email your landlord, building manager or superintendent and provide details of what is wrong and what needs to be fixed.
    Include as much information of the damage as you can, such as photos.
  3. Working with an uncooperative landlord or tenant? Apply to the rental authority in your province to address the issue.
    There are many resources out there to resolve rental issues. Find out who to contact here.
  4. Prevent damage by keeping your home safe.
    Some ways to prevent damage to your home include:
    • Test locks and windows to ensure they are functional
    • Test your smoke detector once a month
    • Keep your home clean and tidy to avoid attracting pests
    • Be responsible if you allow visitors into your home

Tenant Insurance

As a tenant you may not own your own place, but you own things of value and want to protect. That’s where tenant insurance can help. Tenant insurance covers what your landlord’s insurance doesn’t. Not only does it cover the replacement of your apartment contents, it can provide:

  • Additional living expenses if you have to leave your apartment due to an incident such as a fire.
  • Personal liability should you accidentally damage a neighbour’s property or should a guest cause property damage. You may also be held legally responsible if someone were to be injured while visiting your home.

If you have any questions about tenant insurance, contact your BrokerLink broker to learn more. Our insurance experts help set up and implement any additional coverage or make adjustments to your insurance to ensure what you want covered, is covered.