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Quick Facts
  • Landlords are required by law to maintain their properties and make any necessary repairs within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Tenants are responsible for repairing damage they cause, or their guests cause, but are not responsible for things considered normal wear and tear.
  • Except in emergencies tenants must be given a written notice of entry at least twenty-four hours prior to entering the rental unit. This includes entry by contractors, such as electricians or plumbers.
  • Tenants should inform the landlord about any issues requiring maintenance or repairs as soon as possible.
  • If a tenant fails to report an issue to a landlord, and their failure to report the issue allows further property damage to occur, the tenant could be liable for the damage that results.

What You Need to Know

Landlords are required by law to maintain their properties and make any necessary repairs within a reasonable amount of time. Failing to make necessary repairs could give the tenant a reason to terminate the rental agreement.

Tenants are responsible for repairing damage that they cause, or their guests cause, but are not responsible for things considered “normal wear and tear”.

If at any time the landlord and tenant come to an agreement for the tenant to complete necessary maintenance or repair work on the rental unit on behalf of the landlord, the tenant is entitled to be compensated at a reasonable rate for the work.

 

Formal Requests and Notice of Entry

A tenant is required to put any requests for repairs in writing unless it is an emergency. The notice should contain the tenant’s name and signature, the date, the address of the rental unit, the landlord’s name, and a description of the issues requiring attention. There is also a form you can use for this purpose in the “Files / Documents” section below.

Except in an emergency tenants must be given a written notice of entry at least twenty-four hours prior to the landlord entering the rental unit. This includes entry by contractors, such as electricians or plumbers, carrying out maintenance and repairs. The twenty-four-hour notice requirement can be waived if the tenant agrees to the entry. The tenant’s consent does not need to be in writing. There is more information on this in our Help Topic on Entry of Premises.

 

Failure to Report (Negligence)

Tenants should inform the landlord about any issues requiring maintenance or repairs as soon as possible. If a tenant fails to report an issue to a landlord, and their failure to report the issue allows further property damage to occur, the tenant could be liable for the damage that results.

For example, if a tenant is aware of a leaking pipe and fails to report it to the landlord in a timely manner, and as a result there is significant water damage, the tenant could be liable for those damages. It is for this reason that tenants should report any issues to their landlord as soon as they become aware of the problem.

Essentially any damage that is caused because the tenant failed to report a problem to the landlord is looked at the same as if the tenant caused the damages themselves.

 

Damage Caused by the Tenant or Guests

If a tenant, or their guests, cause damage to the rental unit the landlord may give the tenant a written notice stating that the damage must be repaired. If the tenant fails to comply within three days, or a longer period of time if reasonable in the circumstances, the landlord may serve a termination notice. A termination notice in this case can be for as little as five days. There is more information about this process in our Help Topic about Termination Notices. A tenant is obligated by law to keep the premises clean and repair any damage they cause. There is more information on this in our Help Topic about Tenant Obligations and Repairs and Maintenance.

 

Failure to Make Repairs

In cases where a landlord fails to make necessary repairs in a reasonable amount of time the tenant may make an application to pay their rent “in trust” to the Landlord and Tenant Division of Service NL. If approved, the tenant would pay their rent directly to Service NL. The landlord would be reimbursed once the required repairs were completed. A tenant cannot withhold rent from the landlord over issues of maintenance or repairs without first making an application to Service NL. There is more information on this in our Help Topic about Landlord Obligations and Repairs and Maintenance.

 

Emergency Repairs

In some cases when the landlord is unavailable a tenant may be forced to carry out emergency repairs. These would be situations where repairs are necessary as quickly as possible to prevent major property damage, eliminate serious hazards to health & safety, or to prevent the rental unit from becoming uninhabitable. The tenant should keep any receipts, documents, or photos that may be necessary to show the nature of the repairs and work that was performed.

In these cases, the tenant should make a written request to the landlord to be reimbursed the reasonable costs of completing the work. In the event of a disagreement between the landlord and tenant over whether the repairs were necessary, and the costs reasonable, the tenant may apply to Service NL and a hearing will be held to decide these matters. Depending on the circumstances a landlord could be ordered to pay money to the tenant, or the tenant may be authorized to withhold money from the rent.

 

Unfit for Habitation

If the landlord fails to maintain a rental unit in a condition that is fit for habitation, or something happens to cause a rental unit to become unfit for habitation, the tenant may give written notice that the rental agreement is terminated immediately.

If an action or inaction of the tenant causes a rental unit to become unfit for habitation the landlord may give written notice that the rental agreement is terminated immediately.


Files / Documents
This form can be used by a landlord to give notice of entry to a tenant.

Tenants can use this form to make a formal request for repairs to their landlord.

This form can be used by a landlord to formally request that tenants repair damages that they have caused.

Resources
A fact sheet from Service NL that explains the basic obligations of landlords and tenants.

A fact sheet from Service NL that explains the obligations of landlords and tenants regarding repairs and maintenance.

Legislation

Statutory conditions

10. (1) Notwithstanding an agreement, declaration, waiver or statement to the contrary, where the relationship of landlord and tenant exists, there shall be considered to be an agreement between the landlord and tenant that the following statutory conditions governing the residential premises apply:

1. Obligation of the Landlord -

(a) The Landlord shall maintain the residential premises in a good state of repair and fit for habitation during the tenancy and shall comply with a law respecting health, safety or housing.

(b) Paragraph (a) applies regardless of whether, when the landlord and tenant entered into the rental agreement, the tenant had knowledge of a state of non-repair, unfitness for habitation or contravention of a law respecting health, safety or housing in the residential premises.

2. Obligation of the Tenant - The tenant shall keep the residential premises clean, and shall repair damage caused by a wilful or negligent act of the tenant or of a person whom the tenant permits on the residential premises.

3. Assigning or Subletting Residential Premises - The tenant may assign or sublet the residential premises subject to the written consent of the landlord, and the landlord shall not arbitrarily or unreasonably withhold consent and shall not levy a charge in excess of expenses actually incurred by the landlord in relation to giving consent.

4. Mitigation on Abandonment - Where the tenant abandons the residential premises, the landlord shall mitigate damages that may be caused by the abandonment to the extent that a party to a contract is required by law to mitigate damages.

5. Entry of Residential Premises - Except in the case of an emergency, the landlord shall not enter the residential premises without the consent of the tenant unless

(a) notice of termination of the rental agreement has been given and the entry is at a reasonable time for the purpose of showing the residential premises to a prospective tenant or purchaser and a reasonable effort has been made to give the tenant at least 4 hours' notice;

(b) the entry is made at a reasonable time and written notice of the time of the entry has been given to the tenant at least 24 hours in advance of the entry; or

(c) the tenant has abandoned the residential premises under section 31.

6. Entry Doors - Except by mutual consent, neither the landlord nor the tenant shall, during the use or occupancy of the residential premises by the tenant, alter a lock or locking system on a door that gives entry to the residential premises.

7. Peaceful Enjoyment and Reasonable Privacy -

(a) The tenant shall not unreasonably interfere with the rights and reasonable privacy of a landlord or other tenants in the residential premises, a common area or the property of which they form a part.

(b) The landlord shall not unreasonably interfere with the tenant's reasonable privacy and peaceful enjoyment of the residential premises, a common area or the property of which they form a part.

8. Disconnection of Services - A landlord or tenant shall not, without the written consent of the other party to the rental agreement, disconnect or cause to be disconnected heat, water or electric power services being provided to the residential premises.

(2) Where a landlord and tenant enter into a written rental agreement, the statutory conditions set out in subsection (1) shall be reproduced in the rental agreement without variation or modification.

 

Notice where premises uninhabitable

21. (1) Notwithstanding subsection 18(1) and paragraph 18(3)(a), where a landlord contravenes statutory condition 1 set out in subsection 10(1), the tenant may give the landlord notice that the rental agreement is terminated and the tenant intends to vacate the residential premises effective immediately.

(2)  Notwithstanding subsection 18(2) and paragraph 18(3)(b), where an action of, or a failure to act by, a tenant makes a residential premises unfit for habitation, the landlord may give the tenant notice that the rental agreement is terminated and that the tenant is required to vacate the residential premises effective immediately.

(3)  In addition to the requirements under section 34, a notice under this section shall

(a)  be signed by the person providing the notice;

(b)  state the date on which the rental agreement terminates and the tenant intends to vacate the residential premises or the date by which the tenant is required to vacate the residential premises; and

(c)  be served in accordance with section 35.

 

Notice where tenant's obligation not met

22. (1) Notwithstanding subsection 18(2) and paragraph 18(3)(b), where a tenant contravenes statutory condition 2 set out in subsection 10(1), the landlord may give the tenant notice requiring the tenant to comply with the condition.

(2) Where a tenant contravenes statutory condition 2 set out in subsection 10(1) within 3 days after the notice under subsection (1) has been served or within a reasonable time, the landlord may give the tenant notice that the rental agreement is terminated and the tenant is required to vacate the residential premises on a specified date not less than 5 days after the notice has been served.

(3) In addition to the requirements under section 34, a notice under this section shall

(a) be signed by the landlord;

(b) state the date on which the rental agreement terminates and the tenant is required to vacate the residential premises; and

(c) be served in accordance with section 35.

Help Topics

Repairs and Maintenance

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