SERVICES AND FACILITIES
Your landlord is not allowed to reduce or take away an essential service or facility. A service or facility is “essential” if it is necessary to the tenant’s use of the rental unit and, if taken away, would make it impossible or impractical for the tenant to live there. A good example of an essential service is an elevator in a multi-storey apartment building.
If there is a problem with an essential service or facility, let your landlord know in writing immediately. See TRAC’s template letter, Termination or Restriction of Essential Services or Facilities. If that doesn’t work, apply for dispute resolution for an order that your landlord restore the essential service or facility, and provide you with compensation for the disruption. Alternatively, the issue might meet the definition of an emergency repair – for example, the primary heating system breaks during winter. See our page on Repairs and Maintenance for more information.
Your landlord is allowed to reduce or take away any non-essential service or facility, but only if they give you 30 days’ written notice and lower your monthly rent by an appropriate amount. For example, if internet was always provided as part of your tenancy agreement but has now been cancelled by the landlord, your rent should be reduced by the cost of a comparable internet package.
If your landlord reduces or takes away a non-essential service or facility without giving you 30 days’ written notice and an appropriate rent reduction, do not withhold rent! Instead, you will have to use effective communication or apply for dispute resolution to resolve your problem. See TRAC’s template letter, Termination or Restriction of Non-Essential Services or Facilities.
If your landlord restricts a non-essential service, you are not allowed withhold rent without your landlord’s written approval or an order from the Residential Tenancy Branch. If you do, your landlord could issue an 10 Day Eviction Notice for non-payment of rent.