Claim Against Landlord Dismissed: No Privacy Violation For Making Repair

by | Dec 6, 2010 | Rental Property Management Tips

A tenant’s claim that his female roommate’s privacy was violated when the landlord made repairs to the outside of a rental property without first giving notice has been dismissed.

According to the complaint, the roommate was surprised to look out from a bedroom window and see the landlord working on a portion of the roof.  The woman felt compelled to cover the window, although she testified that she could normally carry on her usual activities without the need to block that window.

A tenant is entitled to quiet enjoyment of a rental property, which generally means a landlord cannot come into the property without proper notice, typically 24 hours, unless it is to make an emergency repair. 

The tenant in this case was seeking a monetary judgment from the landlord to compensate for the violation of that right.

The hearing officer found no evidence that the landlord attempted to peer into the woman’s window from the roof, and determined that “the landlord bore no obligation to warn the tenant prior to working on the roof.” 

Consequently, the landlord was absolved of any liability and the tenant’s claim was dismissed.

A landlord and tenant are both responsible for repairing, maintaining, and servicing a rental unit. A landlord is obliged to repair and maintain the rental unit and property in a reasonable manner. However, a tenant is responsible for repairing any damage caused by him or her, or by his or her pets or guests.

Sometimes an emergency repair may be required that is not the responsibility of the tenant. Repairs are an emergency only if the health or safety of the tenant is in danger or if the building or property is at risk. 

British Columbia’s Residential Tenancy Branch provides these examples of emergencies:

Major leaks in pipes or roof.
Damaged or blocked water or sewer pipes or plumbing fixtures.
Primary heating system.
Malfunctioning electrical system.
Damaged or defective locks.

Conversely, situations that are not emergencies include a burned-out heating element on a stove, or a plugged kitchen sink. 
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.


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