Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

Security Deposits, Pet Deposits and Inspections

Can a landlord require payment of a security deposit or pet damage deposit?
When does the tenant get the security deposit and pet damage deposit back?
If the tenant leaves no forwarding address, can the landlord keep the deposit?
When can a landlord require payment of a security deposit?
What is the maximum amount for a security deposit?
What can the landlord do if the tenant does not pay the security deposit?
What is the maximum amount for a pet deposit?
Can the landlord request a pet deposit after start of the tenancy?
Can a landlord request a security deposit in a manufactured home site tenancy?
Can a landlord request a pet deposit in a manufactured home site tenancy?
What are the current interest rates?

Condition Inspection Reports
When must a Condition Inspection Report be completed?
How does a Condition Inspection Report affect the landlord's right to claim for damages?
How does a Condition Inspection Report affect the tenant's right for return of a deposit?

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Can a landlord require payment of a security deposit or pet damage deposit?

In residential tenancies, landlords may ask the tenant to pay a security deposit or pet deposit when they enter into a tenancy agreement. The tenancy agreement must not provide that the landlord automatically keeps all or part of the deposit(s) at the end of the tenancy.

With the written consent of the tenant and having complied with condition inspection requirements, or with a Residential Tenancy Branch order, the landlord may keep all or part of the security deposit to cover any damage the tenant does to the rental unit beyond normal wear and tear, or any costs related to the tenancy. The deposit may be used against any outstanding Residential Tenancy Branch order. If a landlord is entitled to keep all or part of a pet damage deposit, the deposit may be used only for damage caused by the pet unless the tenant agrees otherwise.

In manufactured home park tenancies, a landlord may not require a tenant to pay a security deposit or pet damage deposit.

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When does the tenant get the security deposit and pet damage deposit back?

A landlord must return the security deposit or pet damage deposit within 15 days of the tenancy ending or receiving the tenant's forwarding address in writing, whichever is later. The landlord may keep some or all of the deposit if they have the tenant's written consent or a valid Monetary Order from the Residential Tenancy Branch that may be applied against the deposit.

A landlord must provide interest on the security deposit and pet damage deposit. The interest may be calculated on the Residential Tenancy Branch's free Deposit Interest Rate Calculator.

A landlord's or tenant's right to make a claim for a security deposit or pet damage deposit is affected by their participation in the move-in and move-out condition inspections. Claims for damages to the rental unit may be made independently of a claim for the Security Deposit.

Security deposits paid to landlords on or before December 31, 2003 may be retained until the end of the tenancy. A landlord who does not return or file a claim against the deposit at the end of the tenancy may be required to pay the tenant double the amount of the deposit.

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If the tenant leaves no forwarding address, can the landlord keep the deposit?

If a tenant does not provide the landlord a forwarding address, in writing, within one year after the end of the tenancy, the landlord may keep the security deposit and/or the pet deposit.

When can a landlord require payment of a security deposit?

The only time a landlord may request a security deposit is at the beginning of the tenancy. The landlord may charge only one security deposit per rental unit, no matter how many tenants live in the unit.

What is the maximum amount for a security deposit?

A security deposit cannot be more than half of the first month's rent. The landlord cannot ask for an extra deposit if the rent is increased.

What can the landlord do if the tenant does not pay the security deposit?

If the tenant fails to pay the security deposit within 30 days of the start date of the tenancy agreement, the landlord may give a one month notice to end the tenancy.

What is the maximum amount for a pet deposit?

Residential tenancy landlords may charge a one-time pet deposit of up to one-half a month's rent if a pet is allowed. Pet deposits may only be used for damage caused by a pet. A landlord cannot require more than one pet deposit regardless of the number of pets the landlord permits. The maximum combined amount allowable for a security deposit and pet deposit is one month's rent. Guide animals and pets allowed as part of a tenancy agreement on or before December 31, 2003 are exempt.

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Can the landlord request a pet deposit after the start of the tenancy?

If the landlord permits a new pet on an existing tenancy after January 1, 2004, the landlord may require a pet deposit. However, the landlord must do an inspection of the rental unit, with the tenant, complete a Condition Inspection Report and provide a copy to the tenant within seven days.

Can a landlord request a security deposit in a manufactured home site tenancy?

No. In a manufactured home site tenancy, landlords may not ask a tenant to pay a security deposit or pet deposit when they enter into a tenancy agreement, or at any time during the tenancy. Security deposits paid to landlords on or before December 31, 2003 may be retained until the end of the tenancy; however, a landlord who does not return or file a claim against the deposit at the end of the tenancy may be required to pay the tenant double the amount of the deposit.

Can a landlord request a pet deposit in a manufactured home site tenancy?

No. Manufactured home site tenancy landlords cannot charge a pet deposit.

What are the current interest rates?

Go to the Deposit Interest Rates page to see the interest rates, or obtain them through any Residential Tenancy Branch. The Residential Tenancy Branch offers a Deposit Interest Calculator program which you can download for free from our website. Information Officers are also available to provide assistance with calculations.

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Condition Inspection Reports

When must a Condition Inspection Report be completed?

In a residential tenancy, landlords and tenants must complete a Condition Inspection Report of the rental unit or rental property at the start and the end of the tenancy.

The landlord and tenant must inspect the condition of the rental unit on the day the tenant is entitled to possession of the rental unit or on another mutually agreed day before the tenant moves in. They must make a written record of any damage, including stains on the rug or holes in the walls, wear and tear. If the rental unit is in perfect condition, that also should be noted. Photographs can also be useful.

Both the landlord and the tenant must sign the Condition Inspection Report, and should keep it with the tenancy agreement to help avoid disputes when the tenancy ends. The landlord must give a copy of the Report to the tenant within seven days after the condition inspection is completed.

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How does a Condition Inspection Report affect the landlord's right to claim for damages?

A residential tenancy landlord may lose the right to claim for damages against a security deposit or pet deposit if the landlord does not offer the tenant at least two opportunities for the inspection, unless the tenant has abandoned the rental unit. If none of the times initially offered by the landlord or suggested as alternatives by the tenant are suitable, the landlord must offer the tenant another time using the Notice of Final Opportunity to Schedule a Condition Inspection form.

If the landlord has made the inspection with the tenant but does not complete the Condition Inspection Report, or provide the tenant with a copy as required under residential tenancy law, the landlord loses the right to claim against the security deposit and/or the pet deposit for damages.

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How does a Condition Inspection Report affect the tenant's right for return of a deposit?

The tenant may lose the right to the return of a security deposit or a pet deposit if the tenant doesn’t take part in the condition inspection. The landlord is responsible for scheduling a condition inspection and must offer the tenant at least two opportunities for the inspection. If none of the times initially offered by the landlord or suggested as alternatives by the tenant are suitable, the landlord must offer the tenant another time using the Notice of Final Opportunity to Schedule a Condition Inspection form.

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