Deposits & Rental Fees
A landlord can request a deposit that will be held in trust as security against damage to the rental unit. Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, be sure you understand the process for returning a deposit at the end of a tenancy.
At the start of a tenancy, a landlord can ask for a security deposit (or damage deposit) – it can be no more than half of the first month’s rent.
Under residential tenancy laws, once a landlord accepts a deposit, a tenancy is generally considered to have been established.
A landlord may also request a pet damage deposit at the start of a tenancy or during a tenancy if a tenant gets a pet with the landlord’s permission. The deposit must be no more than half of one month’s rent, regardless of the number of pets allowed.
Deposits are not required for guide or service dogs or pets that were in a rental unit as of January 1, 2004.
A pet damage deposit can only be used to cover the costs of repairing damage caused by a pet, unless the tenant agrees in writing or an arbitrator orders the pet damage deposit be applied to a Monetary Order.
Learn more about:
Deposits for Manufactured Home Parks
In a mobile home park, tenants usually own their manufactured home and rent the site that it sits on. In these cases, a landlord cannot request a security deposit or pet damage deposit. If a tenant is renting both a manufactured home and a manufactured home site under a residential tenancy agreement, then the rules related to deposits for a standard residential tenancy apply.
The person moving a manufactured home on or off the site may need to provide proof of insurance (or security) to the landlord if they request it.
Deposits paid before December 31, 2003 can be kept by the landlord until the end of the tenancy and be used for covering damages as agreed by the tenant or ordered by an arbitrator.
If a tenant doesn't pay the security deposit within 30 days of entering into the tenancy agreement or the pet damage deposit within 30 days of it being required, the landlord may serve the tenant with a notice to end the tenancy.
- One Month Notice to End Tenancy (PDF, 2.1MB)
Landlord & Tenant Responsibilities
- Can only request one security deposit or pet damage deposit per tenancy agreement, regardless of the number of tenants or pets
- Can serve a One Month Notice to End Tenancy (PDF, 2.1MB) if a tenant fails to pay the security deposit within 30 days of entering into the tenancy agreement or a pet damage deposit within 30 days of when it’s required
- Cannot request deposits based on rules and procedures used in other areas (for example, landlords can’t ask for “first and last month’s rent” or “key money”)
- Cannot increase the amount of a deposit with a rent increase
- Cannot automatically keep all or part of the deposit at the end of the tenancy
- Must pay the security deposit within 30 days of entering into the tenancy agreement or the pet damage deposit within 30 days of when it’s required
- Cannot use a deposit as rent without the landlord’s written permission
- Should contact the Residential Tenancy Branch if they paid too much for their deposit – they may be able to deduct the over-payment from their rent
Fees Landlords Can and Cannot Charge
Keys: A landlord can't charge for a key or other access device (e.g. a fob) that is the tenant’s only means for getting in to the residential unit or manufactured home park. For keys or devices that aren't the only way to access the rental unit, a landlord can charge a fee that is refunded when the key or access device is returned. The fee must not be more than the direct cost of replacing the keys or access device. Landlords can charge a fee to replace or provide additional keys.
Application fees: A landlord must not charge a fee for accepting, reviewing or processing an application.
Moving fees: A landlord can charge a fee if a tenant requests to move between units in a multi-tenanted building. This must be stated in the tenancy agreement and the fee can’t be greater than $15 or 3% of the monthly rent. A landlord can also charge a move-in fee only if it’s required by strata bylaws.
Parking and Storage Fees: A landlord may include parking and/or storage fees as part of a rental agreement or they may have a separate agreement for these fees. If parking or storage fees are included in the rental agreement, they cannot be increased above the total annual allowable rent increase amount. If your parking/storage fees are included and you believe they have been increased to an unreasonable amount, please contact the branch for assistance. If your parking and/or storage fees are a separate agreement, there may be no limits to the amount they can charge. The Residential Tenancy Branch recommends to carefully read and understand any agreement before signing.
The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: September 4, 2020.