Friday, February 7, 2020

B.C. government launches expedited process for rental deposit disputes


The B.C. government has created an expedited process for renters looking to get their security and pet deposits back.

Under the new process, renters who have not received their uncontested deposits within 15 days at the end of their rental agreement call fill out an application.

If the application is approved, the tenant will receive an order for the return of the deposit that they can then serve to their landlord or enforce through the small claims court. The government said the Rental Tenancy Board (RTB) already has a similar process in place to help landlords recover unpaid rent or utilities.

Under the old process, renters had to apply for a dispute resolution hearing if their landlord did not return their uncontested deposits within 15 days of the end of the rental agreement.

Applications can be filled out in person at the RTB office at 5021 Kingsway in Burnaby, at any Service BC location or online (effective Feb. 18, 2020).

“Renters should not have to go through a time-consuming process to have their deposits returned to them,” Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson said in a statement. “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.”

The change is in response to one of the recommendations of the Rental Housing Task Force. The recommendation was to speed up the return of security deposits by allowing tenants to make a direct request to the RTB where the landlord has not made a claim.

“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, CEO of LandlordBC, said in a statement in response the announcement.

“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.”


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