Renters in British Columbia should get their security deposits back faster thanks to a new regime.
Currently, if a landlord does not return a tenant’s uncontested security deposit within 15 days of the rental agreement ending, the renter has to apply for a dispute resolution with the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB).
Under the new system, being introduced from next week (Feb. 18) renters making a successful application to the RTB will receive an order that can be served to their landlord or enforced through the small claims court.
It is a similar system as landlords can use to recover unpaid rents or utilities and LandlordBC says it will improve things for both renters and landlords.
“The use of a direct request for the return of security deposits is a constructive step to improve the efficiency of the process for both tenants and landlords,” said David Hutniak, chief executive officer, LandlordBC. “Landlords claiming to retain part or all of the deposits to recoup the cost of damages to their rental suites will continue to have access to a participatory hearing, which ensures that they will be able to state their case to an arbitrator. Overall, we expect this new process to work well.”
Without the wait for an RTB hearing it is hoped that the new regime will expediate the return of deposits.
“Renters should not have to go through a time-consuming process to have their deposits returned to them,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We are taking action to make the residential tenancy system work better for landlords and tenants, and this is another step in making sure everyone is treated fairly.”
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