Understanding Damage Deposit vs. Security Deposit in Canada

Jul 15, 2023

What is a Damage Deposit or a Security deposit?

Damage Deposit, commonly referred to as a “security deposit,” plays a vital role in rental agreements across Canada. This monetary amount is paid by tenants to landlords as a form of insurance, safeguarding against potential financial losses that may arise due to tenant-induced damages beyond normal wear and tear.

In this blog, we will delve into the specifics of damage deposits, explore provincial regulations and damage deposit rules, and provide guidance on what to do when a landlord requests one.

In general, there are several important aspects to understand about damage deposits in Canada:


Deposit Handling

Landlords are required to deposit all security deposits into an interest-bearing trust account at a bank, treasury branch, credit union, or trust company once collected. This ensures that the deposit is properly secured.


Return of Deposit

At the end of the first residential tenancy agreement, landlords are obligated to return the security deposit or pet damage deposit to tenants, along with any accumulated interest. The specific rules regarding the return of security deposits and pet damage deposits, and the calculation of interest may vary between provinces. Check the provincial government website for a damage deposit interest calculator.


Deposit Limit

Landlords are generally prohibited from increasing the damage deposit during the residential tenancy. Tenants should not pay additional money other than the deposit amount agreed upon at the beginning of the first tenancy agreement, regardless of the rent increase.

Provincial Regulations

Each Province in Canada has its own set of regulations regarding damage deposits. It is essential for tenants and landlords to understand the specific rules that apply to their respective provinces. Here is a summary of the regulations across various provinces:

Alberta: A security deposit in Alberta is equivalent to one month rent at the start of residential tenancy. The deposit must be returned within ten days of the end of the tenancy, provided there is no need to cover unpaid rent or damages.

British Columbia: In BC, the damage deposit can be no more than half the monthly rent. The deposit must be returned within 15 days of the tenant vacating the premises, given that there are no damages or unpaid rent.

Manitoba: In Manitoba, landlords can ask for a security deposit equivalent to half the monthly rent. In addition, tenancies contracted after August 1, 2014, are eligible for a pet damage deposit equivalent to one rent amount for a month.

New Brunswick: In NB, a security deposit is equivalent to one month’s rent. Tenants have the option to pay directly to Service New Brunswick or to the landlord. The deposit must be returned within 15 days of the end of the tenancy.

Newfoundland and Labrador: Landlords can ask for up to ¾ of monthly rent in NL. The security deposit must be returned within 15 days of the tenant vacating the rental unit, given that there are no damages and unpaid rent.

Nova Scotia: In NS, landlords are allowed to request a security deposit equivalent to full monthly rent. The security deposit must be returned within 10 days of the end of the tenancy.

Ontario: In Ontario, landlords are not permitted to charge a damage deposit for residential tenancies. However, the rent deposit can be collected equivalent to the amount covering last month's rent, and can only be used to cover rent payment, not to cover any damages. 

Prince Edward Island: A security deposit in PEI is equivalent to the rent of one month. The deposit must be returned within 15 days after the residential tenancy ends.

Quebec: In Quebec, landlords are not permitted to charge any form of deposit. This includes damage deposits, security deposits or pet damage deposits, and others. They are only allowed to ask for the first month’s rent.

Saskatchewan: In Saskatchewan, landlords can require a security deposit equivalent to one month’s rent. The deposit must be returned within seven days of vacancy.

Northwest Territories: In the Northwest Territories, a damage deposit is equivalent to the rent amount of one month. Landlords can also request for a pet damage deposit equivalent to half a month’s rent. The deposit must be returned within 15 days after the residential tenancy ends unless a tenant fails to pay rent.

Nunavut: In Nunavut, landlords can ask for a damage deposit equivalent to the rent amount of one month. The deposit must be returned within 15 days of the tenant vacating the premises unless the landlord believes there are damages or unpaid rent.

Yukon: A damage deposit in Yukon is equivalent to the amount of rental units for one month. The deposit must be returned within 15 days of the tenant vacating the premises unless there are damages or unpaid rent.

What to Do If a Landlord Asks for Damage Deposits

If a landlord requests a damage deposit, it is crucial to approach the situation carefully. Here are some steps to consider:


1. Understand the Regulations

Familiarize yourself with the specific regulations regarding damage deposits and extra fees in your province. Different provinces have varying rules on what a deposit landlord can charge, and some provinces may prohibit or limit the imposition of extra fees. Knowing your rights will help you make informed decisions.


2. Review the Rental Agreement

Thoroughly examine the rental agreement to ensure that it clearly outlines the terms and conditions related to damage deposits. Look for any provisions that may indicate the legitimacy or legality of the rental unit or requested amount.


3. Negotiate, if Possible

If you find the requested damage deposits to be excessive or unfair, consider negotiating with the landlord. Engage in open and respectful communication to reach a mutually agreeable dispute resolution amount. You may be able to discuss alternative options or negotiate a lower amount.


4. Payment Method

It is important to protect yourself by using traceable payment methods for any deposits or fees. Avoid paying in cash and instead opt for methods such as cheques or electronic transfers. Request a receipt from the landlord as proof of payment.

Conclusion

Damage Deposits, also known as Security Deposits, are a vital component of rental agreements in Canada. These deposits serve as insurance against a tenant's residence-induced damages, protecting landlords from financial losses. It is crucial for both tenants and landlords to understand the specific regulations governing damage deposits in their provinces. Navigating the rental process with knowledge can establish a harmonious tenant-landlord relationship.

What is a Damage Deposit or a Security deposit?

Damage Deposit, commonly referred to as a “security deposit,” plays a vital role in rental agreements across Canada. This monetary amount is paid by tenants to landlords as a form of insurance, safeguarding against potential financial losses that may arise due to tenant-induced damages beyond normal wear and tear.

In this blog, we will delve into the specifics of damage deposits, explore provincial regulations and damage deposit rules, and provide guidance on what to do when a landlord requests one.

In general, there are several important aspects to understand about damage deposits in Canada:


Deposit Handling

Landlords are required to deposit all security deposits into an interest-bearing trust account at a bank, treasury branch, credit union, or trust company once collected. This ensures that the deposit is properly secured.


Return of Deposit

At the end of the first residential tenancy agreement, landlords are obligated to return the security deposit or pet damage deposit to tenants, along with any accumulated interest. The specific rules regarding the return of security deposits and pet damage deposits, and the calculation of interest may vary between provinces. Check the provincial government website for a damage deposit interest calculator.


Deposit Limit

Landlords are generally prohibited from increasing the damage deposit during the residential tenancy. Tenants should not pay additional money other than the deposit amount agreed upon at the beginning of the first tenancy agreement, regardless of the rent increase.

Provincial Regulations

Each Province in Canada has its own set of regulations regarding damage deposits. It is essential for tenants and landlords to understand the specific rules that apply to their respective provinces. Here is a summary of the regulations across various provinces:

Alberta: A security deposit in Alberta is equivalent to one month rent at the start of residential tenancy. The deposit must be returned within ten days of the end of the tenancy, provided there is no need to cover unpaid rent or damages.

British Columbia: In BC, the damage deposit can be no more than half the monthly rent. The deposit must be returned within 15 days of the tenant vacating the premises, given that there are no damages or unpaid rent.

Manitoba: In Manitoba, landlords can ask for a security deposit equivalent to half the monthly rent. In addition, tenancies contracted after August 1, 2014, are eligible for a pet damage deposit equivalent to one rent amount for a month.

New Brunswick: In NB, a security deposit is equivalent to one month’s rent. Tenants have the option to pay directly to Service New Brunswick or to the landlord. The deposit must be returned within 15 days of the end of the tenancy.

Newfoundland and Labrador: Landlords can ask for up to ¾ of monthly rent in NL. The security deposit must be returned within 15 days of the tenant vacating the rental unit, given that there are no damages and unpaid rent.

Nova Scotia: In NS, landlords are allowed to request a security deposit equivalent to full monthly rent. The security deposit must be returned within 10 days of the end of the tenancy.

Ontario: In Ontario, landlords are not permitted to charge a damage deposit for residential tenancies. However, the rent deposit can be collected equivalent to the amount covering last month's rent, and can only be used to cover rent payment, not to cover any damages. 

Prince Edward Island: A security deposit in PEI is equivalent to the rent of one month. The deposit must be returned within 15 days after the residential tenancy ends.

Quebec: In Quebec, landlords are not permitted to charge any form of deposit. This includes damage deposits, security deposits or pet damage deposits, and others. They are only allowed to ask for the first month’s rent.

Saskatchewan: In Saskatchewan, landlords can require a security deposit equivalent to one month’s rent. The deposit must be returned within seven days of vacancy.

Northwest Territories: In the Northwest Territories, a damage deposit is equivalent to the rent amount of one month. Landlords can also request for a pet damage deposit equivalent to half a month’s rent. The deposit must be returned within 15 days after the residential tenancy ends unless a tenant fails to pay rent.

Nunavut: In Nunavut, landlords can ask for a damage deposit equivalent to the rent amount of one month. The deposit must be returned within 15 days of the tenant vacating the premises unless the landlord believes there are damages or unpaid rent.

Yukon: A damage deposit in Yukon is equivalent to the amount of rental units for one month. The deposit must be returned within 15 days of the tenant vacating the premises unless there are damages or unpaid rent.

What to Do If a Landlord Asks for Damage Deposits

If a landlord requests a damage deposit, it is crucial to approach the situation carefully. Here are some steps to consider:


1. Understand the Regulations

Familiarize yourself with the specific regulations regarding damage deposits and extra fees in your province. Different provinces have varying rules on what a deposit landlord can charge, and some provinces may prohibit or limit the imposition of extra fees. Knowing your rights will help you make informed decisions.


2. Review the Rental Agreement

Thoroughly examine the rental agreement to ensure that it clearly outlines the terms and conditions related to damage deposits. Look for any provisions that may indicate the legitimacy or legality of the rental unit or requested amount.


3. Negotiate, if Possible

If you find the requested damage deposits to be excessive or unfair, consider negotiating with the landlord. Engage in open and respectful communication to reach a mutually agreeable dispute resolution amount. You may be able to discuss alternative options or negotiate a lower amount.


4. Payment Method

It is important to protect yourself by using traceable payment methods for any deposits or fees. Avoid paying in cash and instead opt for methods such as cheques or electronic transfers. Request a receipt from the landlord as proof of payment.

Conclusion

Damage Deposits, also known as Security Deposits, are a vital component of rental agreements in Canada. These deposits serve as insurance against a tenant's residence-induced damages, protecting landlords from financial losses. It is crucial for both tenants and landlords to understand the specific regulations governing damage deposits in their provinces. Navigating the rental process with knowledge can establish a harmonious tenant-landlord relationship.