Services and Facilities

The Basics



Essential Services and Facilities

A landlord cannot terminate or restrict a service or facility that is essential and necessary to a rental unit and, if taken away, would make it impossible or impractical for a tenant to live there. For example, an elevator in a multi-storey apartment building is an essential service. See section 27(1) of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) and Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) Policy Guideline 22 for more information.

Notify your landlord in writing as soon as possible if you encounter a problem with an essential service or facility. See TRAC’s template letter, Termination of Essential Services or Facilities. If they do not fix the problem within a reasonable period, you can apply for dispute resolution through the RTB to obtain an order requiring your landlord to restore the essential service or facility. In addition, you can apply for monetary compensation from your landlord for ignoring your written request, as well as a rent reduction until the service or facility has been restored.


Emergency Repairs

If an essential service or facility issue meets the RTA definition of “emergency repair” – for example, the primary heating system breaks during the winter – you can consider following the emergency repair procedures outlined in section 33 of the RTA. See TRAC’s webpage, Repairs and Maintenance / Emergency Repairs, for more information.



Non-Essential Services and Facilities

A landlord can terminate or restrict a non-essential service or facility – as long as they provide 30 days’ written notice on an approved form, Notice Terminating or Restricting a Service or Facility, and reduce the tenant’s rent by an amount equal to the value of the service or facility. For example, if internet was provided as part of your tenancy agreement but has now been cancelled, your rent should be reduced by the cost of a comparable internet package. See section 27(2) of the Residential Tenancy Act for more information.

If your landlord reduces or restricts a non-essential service or facility without providing 30 days written notice and a rent reduction, do not withhold rent. Instead, you will have to resolve the problem by writing your landlord and explaining the law, or applying for dispute resolution for an order to comply with your tenancy agreement. See TRAC’s template letter, Termination of Non-Essential Services or Facilities.



Previous Legal Decisions


  • Compensation for landlord restricting services
  • Heat restricted; arbitrator awards monetary compensation for 117 days at 70% of daily rent