Yes, the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) applies to rental houses.
If you rent the entire house, and have exclusive access to the yard, you are generally responsible for routine yard maintenance. This includes:
- Cutting the grass
- Clearing snow from sidewalks
- Weeding and gardening, if agreed to in the tenancy agreement.
Your landlord is generally responsible for major projects on the property, such as cutting down trees.
If you rent only a portion of the house, and do not have exclusive use of the yard (i.e. the other tenants in the house are also permitted to use the yard) it is generally the landlord’s responsibility to maintain the yard and remove snow.
You will need to get your landlord’s written permission before doing anything to alter the property.
If there are multiple rental units within the same house, the utility bill should be in your landlord’s name. If utilities are in your name and you have to collect payment from the other tenants, you can ask your landlord to change it to their name. If they refuse, you can apply for dispute resolution at the Residential Tenancy Branch.