Tenant's Direct Request

When a tenancy ends and the landlord receives the tenant’s forwarding address in writing, the landlord has fifteen days to either return the outstanding deposit(s) or make an application to retain part or all of the deposit(s). 

If the landlord does nothing, tenants have an alternative option to get a Monetary Order. This is called a Direct Request.

A tenant can use a Direct Request to claim the return of their security deposit and pet deposit (if applicable) and the payment of the filing fee twenty days after the tenancy has ended and the landlord has the forwarding address (fifteen days to return the deposit(s) plus five days to allow for mail to be received).

In this type of proceeding, an adjudicator considers a tenant’s application for the return of their deposit(s). The proceeding is based only on the tenant’s written evidence – verbal testimony from any party is not included.

In order to apply for a Direct Request, the tenant must first make sure that the landlord has not already applied to keep part or all of their deposit(s). If the landlord had applied for dispute resolution to retain part or all of the deposit(s) – the tenant may file a cross-application for dispute resolution.

Additionally, a tenant may not seek the return of deposit(s) or the portion of the deposits where:

  • There is an outstanding order from the director allowing the landlord to retain the deposit(s) or a portion of the deposits; or
  • The tenant has agreed in writing to let the landlord keep the deposit(s) or a portion of the deposit(s).

For example, if the tenant provided a $500 security deposit to the landlord and agreed in writing to allow the landlord to retain $100 dollars, then the tenant is only eligible to seek the return of the remaining $400 amount. The tenant may not make a claim for the $100 dollars that they had previously agreed to let the landlord keep.

The fastest way to apply for dispute resolution is online.

Apply Online Now

Required Documents

The tenant must submit the following documents with their application when applying in-person or when using the online application (applications without these documents will be scheduled for a regular hearing):

  • A copy of the completed Tenant’s Direct Request Worksheet (form RTB-40)
  • A copy of the forwarding address given to the landlord (form RTB-47 is recommended, but not required) or a copy of the condition inspection report with the forwarding address provided
  • A copy of the completed Proof of Service of Forwarding Address (form RTB-41)
  • A copy of the signed tenancy agreement (including the addendum if there is one)
  • If a pet damage deposit was accepted after the tenancy began, a receipt for the pet damage deposit
  • Any other documents that support the application

The Residential Tenancy Branch reviews the application and, where appropriate, prepares a proceeding package. The package includes information for the landlord as well as a proof of service form for the tenant to submit to the Residential Tenancy Branch once they have served the package to the landlord. The tenant must provide copies of all supporting evidence in the package for the landlord.

The tenant must:

Pick up the package or print it when it is ready. Serve the package to the landlord within three days, including the Notice of Dispute Resolution Proceeding which includes the Tenant Application for Direct Request for Return of the Security and/or Pet Damage Deposit and all supporting evidence.

An adjudicator considers the application and documentation and makes a decision. The adjudicator's decision is final and binding.

  • Complete the Proof of Service of Notice of Direct Request Proceeding Form (provided by the Residential Tenancy Branch with the package) as evidence of how and when they served the package to the landlord
  • Submit the Proof of Service to the Residential Tenancy Branch in person to any  Service BC Office or the Residential Tenancy Branch Office in Burnaby

The adjudicator may:

  • Grant a monetary order to the tenant for the return of the deposit(s).
  • Schedule a participatory hearing to provide both parties with an opportunity to present evidence. 
  • Dismiss the application with or without an opportunity to reapply for dispute resolution. 

The decision and order(s) (if applicable) are mailed to the tenant. If requested, the material can also be faxed. Only the decision is mailed to the landlord.

The tenant must serve the monetary order, if one is granted, to the landlord. If the order is served and the landlord does not pay the money owing, the tenant may enforce the order through the court system. An order cannot be enforced until the review period has passed.

Read more about serving and enforcing orders

If there is evidence that the tenant obtained a monetary order by submitting false information, a landlord can apply to have a decision reviewed. The application must be made within fifteen days of receiving the order.

Learn more about applying for a review


The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: May 17, 2022.

Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch