I'm very familiar with The British Columbia Residential Tenancy Act. It is good that you are in contact with TRAC. They will be able to advocate on your behalf.
The existing electric baseboards were never intended to heat the entire home. Shame on the landlord for leading you to believe this.
There was a story of a B.C. landlord who wanted to save money so he would shut off the furnace on or around May 24th and not fire it up again until after Labour Day. He did this to cut down on his heating bill. The tenant went after him for a reduction in a service or facility and quickly won.
In a building where the landlord is supplying heat as part and parcel of the tenancy, heating it at a reasonable temperature is held to be a material term of the tenancy agreement. The key word is "reasonable". Expecting all room temperatures to be at 20C [68F] is not unreasonable at all- especially in the winter time. If he is in breach of this for whatever reason then you may be in a very good legal position to end the tenancy and/or seek monetary compensation because of his failure to provide an adequate essential service. He must not just provide heat, it must be reasonable and adequate otherwise there is a safety/health issue. A dispute officer would determine what is considered "reasonable" heat for where you live.
It is expensive to move out and who wants to move in the dead of winter so I recommend that you advise your landlord, in writing, that you view the denial of [adequate] heat to your rental premises as a breach of a fundamental part of your tenancy agreement. Set out what you want done, and by when, and how, and indicate that you may be prepared to involve authorities if the situation isn't remedied.
Conscientious landlords recognize that stable tenants are critical to their financial well-being. If push comes to shove, it looks like you would have a case for arbitration- especially given the fact that the baseboard heaters were only meant to supplement the main source of heat for the house which was the oil furnace. Your landlord is a complete and total jerk for subjecting you to this! If you get no action file a complaint with the Residential Tenancy Dispute Office. Your landlord will be sorted in no time. There is one located in Burnaby but it sounds like you are located somewhere in the interior or north. Check on line for the Residential Dispute Office nearest you.
By the way do not assume that heaters can be run 24/7. Many have an automatic shut off if they begin to overheat. Sometimes these do not always work. Heaters have also been known to get knocked over and cause fires when unattended. They also draw a considerable amount of energy so I would be aware of the condition and age of the wiring in your place. Multiple space heaters are not intended to replace a major conventional heating source.
· 9 years ago