This applies to lightbulbs inside the Tenant's unit, not common areas, common areas is definitely the Landlord's Responsibility!
You’re a landlord, and you know maintenance obligations fall to the responsibility of the Landlord under the Residential Tenancies Act 2006. If a tap is leaking, you’re responsible. If the windows are drafty, you’re responsible if the furnace needs a new filter, you’re responsible.
Landlords are ultimately responsible for the maintenance of the house, and you cannot download maintenance issues onto the tenant and be successful at the Board when the tenant files a T2 or T6 request.
Therefore, who is responsible for lightbulbs in the property? Clearly, if the Landlord is responsible for yard care, lawn maintenance, furnace filters etc. then wouldn’t they also be responsible for Lightbulbs?
Under maintenance obligations, “Responsibility of Landlords” sections of the Act, it appears that the Landlord’s would be responsible to change Lightbulbs, after all, a broken Lightbulb sounds like a Maintenance issue?
Caselaw however, had decided that a Lightbulb isn’t a maintenance issue but rather the responsibility of the Tenant under Section 33 of the Act, “Tenant’s Responsibility for cleanliness” therefore, the Board has ruled in one Caselaw that Lightbulbs are not maintenance but rather cleanliness. Ultimately, making it the Tenant’s responsibility to change lightbulbs.
Now, the Limitations, this is only one Caselaw, and the matter clearly isn’t settled at the Board, however, a landlord can use this Caselaw to help the Adjudicator see clearly that a Lightbulb shouldn’t be the responsibility of the Landlord but be the responsibility of the Tenant.
So, what does a Professional Landlord do when a Tenant requests that they ensure the lightbulbs are working? The Professional Landlord uses common sense, if the building has high ceilings, and the Tenant cannot change the lightbulbs themselves, then perhaps, the Tenant will win a T6 Application. If the ceilings are low enough for the Tenant to change the Lightbulb, then the Landlord would argue the Caselaw in this article to suggest that a Lightbulb isn’t maintenance, it is ordinary cleanliness, and it is the Tenant’s responsibility to keep the unit clean.
As of right now, it appears the Landlord and Tenant Board could argue either way, but the Caselaw in this article had an Adjudicator rule that a lightbulb isn’t maintenance, but rather cleanliness:
10. When the Tenants moved in, some of the lightbulbs in the unit were missing or burnt out. The Tenants wanted to replace them, but they did not know how to find bulbs that would fit the fixtures. They asked the Landlords to replace the bulbs. The Landlords replied by showing them a photo of the correct bulbs and identifying a hardware store that carried them. The Tenants persisted, and eventually the Landlords provided them with new lightbulbs.
11. Replacing burnt-out lightbulbs is such a trivial task that I am not prepared to find that it is encompassed in a landlord’s maintenance obligations. It seems to me that lightbulb replacement falls within the rubric of “ordinary cleanliness,” which is a tenant’s responsibility under the RTA Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (the ‘RTA’).
12. Photos of the light fixtures are in evidence before me, and I can easily recognize them as a very common type of fixture for which bulbs are available at any hardware store. I do not find that the Landlord had any special obligation to assist the Tenants in finding bulbs to fit fixtures.
So, how do my Professional Landlord’s deal with lightbulbs? They contact me, and my Professional Landlord’s with my Professional Advice understand what to do, and what not to do. Sometimes, I must get involved and send a letter to the Tenant, or call the Tenant to help correct their behaviors, or ensure they are following their obligation of Ordinary Cleanliness. You see, my landlords with my services, know and understand their legal rights and obligations, and don’t fall for Tenant’s unnecessary demands, or unwarranted maintenance complaints.
If you too want to be a Professional Landlord, run a Professional business, and protect your asset from unnecessary complaints for Peace of Mind Investments, you call me at 289-302-3210 for correct, enforceable, and legitimate professional advice for professional landlords.
I am Jordan Nieuwhof, the Landlord’s Legal Representative, and when it comes to the LTB matters, I help ensure Landlord’s have the proper advice, the proper paperwork, attend hearings, manage buildings, and help you ensure a protected asset for today, tomorrow and the future. This is your property, your investment, and your retirement, don’t gamble with problems, get tried, true and professional advice when ever you face a problem.