Decor & Renovation

Living in an apartment: Who pays for repairs?

Living in an apartment: Who pays for repairs?

Decor & Renovation

Living in an apartment: Who pays for repairs?


For many renters, living in an apartment seems to involve fewer responsibilities than owning a home. But, is that really the case? When you rent, you’re responsible for certain minor repairs, but anything major is the responsibility of the owner. How do you know who does what? Read on to find out!


Tenant: Responsible for minor maintenance repairs

Generally, minor maintenance repairs are the responsibility of the tenant, unless they are the result of normal wear and tear or force majeure. For example, if a light bulb burns out or a door handle is loose, no need to call the landlord.

Similarly, decorating costs are generally at the tenant’s expense. Repainting the living room in your favourite colour? Updating the ceiling lights in the kitchen? Things like that are on you. But before you make changes to the apartment, such as new paint colours, shelving, or switching out accessories, be sure to check whether you need the landlord’s approval. It’s usually indicated in the lease you signed when you moved in.

For example, if you decide to change the bedroom light fixtures or the showerhead at your own expense, you must keep the original fixture. It is owned by the landlord, and they will be able to put it back when you leave. Your landlord might also ask you to repair nail holes or paint the walls back to white before you move out.


Landlord: Responsible for maintaining the unit

All landlords are responsible for maintaining the unit in livable condition. This means that your apartment should not be run down to the point that is unsanitary or unsafe. To keep the unit fit for habitation, all landlords must complete work that needs to be done, with the exception of minor maintenance repairs such as replacing a leaky sink, changing a lock, repairing a broken window, and so on.

In the event of an emergency like a broken toilet, major water damage, or a heating system failure, the tenant must immediately notify the landlord. Time is of the essence! If the landlord has been notified that urgent repairs are needed (such as a heating issue in winter) and they fail to comply, you as the tenant can have the work done at your expense. You are then entitled to claim reimbursement from the landlord or, if necessary, to withhold the money from your rent. Remember to keep invoices and evidence of the work.

If disaster strikes and there’s damage to your apartment, it’s in your best interest to be insured and know your rights!


Tenant insurance and landlord Insurance

According to the law, renters in Québec are not required to have insurance. Too many tenants still rely on their landlord’s insurance, which doesn’t cover their personal property or their liability in the event of damage! As a result, more and more landlords are putting a clause in the lease requiring the tenant to have their own insurance.

Why is it so important to insure your apartment? Primarily for these three reasons:

  1. To make sure your personal property is covered in case of theft, fire, or certain types of water damage;
  2. To be covered in the event of physical damage or bodily injury you may accidentally cause to others;
  3. To be entitled to compensation for certain additional expenses if you have to temporarily leave your unit following a covered loss.

Keep in mind that everything is subject to the coverage, terms and conditions, limitations, and exclusions in your insurance contract.

An important factor in getting the right insurance coverage for the property in your apartment is assessing the value of everything you own. It’s also important to figure out what you need in terms of liability coverage. Your spouse, as defined by your insurance contract, and any children living with you are generally covered under your insurance, but your roommates are not. Depending on your situation, you should talk to your damage insurance representative about who else lives with you. If you have any dependent children enrolled full time in school and temporarily residing elsewhere, they are also insured under your insurance contract, but limitations apply to the insurance amount.

It’s worth thinking about. The right tenant insurance can give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your home and will make all the difference if something goes wrong. Request an online quote on the Promutuel Insurance website or contact one of our damage insurance representatives today!

*Note that this is not a legal opinion. We suggest contacting a legal advisor to learn more about the requirements that apply to you.


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Decor & Renovation

Living in an apartment: Who pays for repairs?