Section 10

Deposits

Sub-Section10.2

Claim by Landlord - Landlord Can't Find Tenant


Legislation


s. 32, 34, 35, The Residential Tenancies Act


Definitions

Security deposit: is money a tenant pays to a landlord before the start of a tenancy. A security deposit can’t be more than half of the first month’s rent. The landlord holds the money until the tenant moves out. When a tenancy ends, a landlord may claim the security deposit for unpaid rent, damage, extraordinary cleaning costs or other obligation of the tenant. Many people refer to this money as a damage deposit.

Security Deposit Compensation Fund: an account set up to hold unclaimed security deposits, rent refunds and proceeds from the sale of abandoned property. The Branch can use the money in the fund to return a security deposit to a tenant. Many people refer to this money as a damage deposit.

Pet damage deposit: is money a tenant pays to a landlord before bringing a pet into a rental unit.  A pet damage deposit collected between June 30, 2010 and July 31, 2014 can’t be more than half of a month’s rent.  A pet damage deposit collected on or after August 1, 2014 can be up to one month’s rent.  Existing tenants who have already paid a pet damage deposit cannot be asked to pay the increased amount. The landlord holds the money until the tenant moves out.  When a tenancy ends, a landlord may claim the pet damage deposit for damage or cleaning costs the landlord suffers because of the tenant’s pet. Landlords cannot charge a pet damage deposit for tenants who rely on a service animal.

Tenant services security deposit: is money a tenant pays to a landlord before entering into a tenancy agreement in a building that provides tenant services.  A tenant services security deposit can only be half of one month’s tenant services charge. The landlord holds the money until the tenant moves out. When a tenancy ends, a landlord may claim a tenant services security deposit for unpaid tenant services charges or other money owed that is related to a tenant service.


Policy

If a landlord has a claim against a deposit(s), but can’t find the tenant, they can still ask the Branch to make a decision on their claim. Before making a decision, the Branch needs information from the landlord to support the claim. For example: rental unit condition reports, invoices, rent ledgers and pictures.

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Before making a decision on a claim, the Branch sends a copy of the claim to the tenant’s last known address (this may be the address of the rental unit). The officer does this in case Canada Post is forwarding the tenant’s mail.

If the tenant contacts the Branch after receiving the claim and the landlord has a claim for more than the security deposit, the Branch will give the landlord an opportunity to file their full claim. The landlord may file the claim and have a hearing scheduled to decide the matter. Normally, the Branch gives the landlord the tenant’s address so they can serve them with the claim. The Branch serves the tenant if the tenant can prove there’s good reason not to give the address to the landlord. The Branch won’t give the landlord the tenant’s address if there is a restraining order or a non-molestation order between the landlord and tenant.

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If the tenant doesn’t respond to the claim, the Branch makes a decision on the deposit(s) only. The Branch can’t issue a decision until at least 60 days after the end of the tenancy. The Branch may award the deposit(s) to the landlord in partial satisfaction of their claim. If a landlord has a claim for more than the deposit(s), they may file for the rest of their claim, when they find the tenant. A landlordhas up to six years after the end of the tenancy to file a claim.

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If the landlord is only claiming part of the deposit(s) and interest, the landlord must send the rest of the money to the Branch. The Branch will hold the money for the tenant for up to two years. After two years, the money goes into the Security Deposit Compensation Fund. Once the money goes into the Fund, the tenant is no longer entitled to it. The tenant can’t file a claim for compensation against the landlord for the deposit.



Procedure

Overview

A landlord comes to the Branch with a claim against a deposit(s), but doesn’t know where the tenant is. The officer sends the claim to the tenant’s last known address. If the tenant responds to the claim, the officer follows set procedures to process the claim. If the tenant doesn’t respond to the claim, the officer makes a decision on the deposit(s).


Steps ▼

1.When a landlord comes to the Branch with a claim, an officer asks the landlord for evidence to support their claim. The officer sends the claim to the tenant’s last known address.

If the tenant contacts the officer
, the officer tries to help the landlord and tenant reach an agreement on the claim. If the landlord and tenant can’t agree, an officer makes a decision on the claim. If the landlord’s claim is for more than the deposit(s), the landlord may file a claim and have a hearing to decide the claim (see Claims in Section 9). If the landlord doesn’t file a claim, an officer makes a decision on the deposit(s) in full and final settlement.

If the tenant doesn’t contact the officer
, and it’s 60 days past the end of the tenancy, the officer makes a decision on who should get all or part of the deposit(s). The officer sends the Order to the landlord and tenant. If the officer awards the landlord the deposit(s) in partial satisfaction of their claim, the officer specifies what the deposit is to cover. For example: The landlord is awarded the deposit(s) and accrued interest of $304.70 in partial satisfaction of the claim for May’s rent of $600.00. If the landlord finds the tenant later, the landlord may file a claim for the balance of the money they believe the tenant owes them.


Forms & Form Letters


X-Referencing

For more information on a claim against a deposit see this section.
For details on claims, see Section 9.


Policy Developed

September, 1992


Last Revision

August, 2015


Other Resources

None


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