A landlord can ask for a security deposit of half the monthly rent and, if the tenant is allowed to have pets, an additional pet damage deposit of half the monthly rent. When a tenant would like to have a security and/or pet damage deposit returned, the first step is to provide the landlord with a forwarding address in writing indicating where the deposit(s) can be sent. While this typically happens just before or after moving out, a tenant can provide their forwarding address within one year of the end of the tenancy.
Once you have provided your forwarding address in writing and your tenancy has ended, your landlord has 15 days to take one of the following three actions:
- return your deposit;
- get your written permission to keep some or all of your deposit, and return any amount owed to you; or
- apply for dispute resolution to keep some or all of your deposit.
Your landlord cannot simply decide on their own to keep your deposit. If they want it, they need written permission from you or the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). After 15 days, if your landlord has not returned your deposit, obtained your written permission, or applied for dispute resolution, you have the right to apply for double the amount of your deposit.