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B.C. Government to Introduce Easier Process For Renters to Get Deposits Returned

The B.C. Government will be making changes that will help renters get their security and pet deposit back in a timely manner.

Under the old process, according to the Provincial Government, renters would have to apply for a dispute resolution hearing if a landlord would not return the uncontested deposit within 15 days of the end of the rental agreement. The formal hearing through the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) would require renters to wait to have their money returned.

The Province is attempting to resolve this by creating an expedited process.  It said renters with successful applications will receive an order they can serve to their landlord or enforce through small claims court.

“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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According to the B.C. Government, the RTB has a similar process to help landlords recover unpaid rent or utilities, and the changes will allow renters to use the same simplified process for returning overdue deposits.

“The Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC) supports the decision to make the RTB’s direct request process available to tenants seeking the recovery of their security and pet damage deposits. We regularly hear from tenants whose landlords refuse to return deposits without justification, knowing that the time and hassle of the standard dispute-resolution process will lead many to simply give up,” said Andrew Sakamoto, executive director, TRAC. “TRAC hopes this change will both enable tenants to better stand up for their rights and discourage unscrupulous landlords from illegally retaining deposits.”

The B.C. government said that the introduction of the new process is a step in its implementation of recommendations from the Rental Housing Task Force to make the rental housing system more affordable, secure and fair in the province.

Renters can apply for the expedited process at any Service BC location or online starting on February 18th.

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