Both tenants and landlords often have questions about rental deposits, keys, and other issues that can arise when renting a property. Below are the answers to some of these frequently asked questions.
Can a landlord charge a deposit or a fee to rent a unit?
Yes, a landlord can collect a rent deposit if it is requested on or before the day that the landlord and tenant enter into the tenancy agreement. The rent deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent or the rent for the rental period, whichever is less. For example, if rent payments are made weekly, the deposit cannot be more than one week’s rent; if rent payments are made monthly or bi-monthly, the deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent.
The rent deposit may be used for the rent for the last month before the tenancy ends. It cannot be used for anything else, such as to pay for damages.
Can a landlord ask a tenant to pay money to update their rent deposit?
If the rent increases after a tenant has paid a rent deposit, the landlord can ask the tenant to pay an additional amount towards the rent deposit so that it is the same as the new rent. If a tenant gives notice that they want to move, and the landlord has not previously asked the tenant to top up the rent deposit, the landlord still has the right to ask the tenant to pay an additional amount towards the rent for the last month, so that it is the same as the current rent.
Does a landlord have to pay interest if a rent deposit is collected?
Yes, the landlord must pay the tenant interest on the rent every 12 months. The amount of interest that a landlord must pay is the same as the rent increase guideline that is in effect when the interest payment is due. The guideline is set each year by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Landlords may deduct the amount needed to update the rent deposit (so that it equals the current rent) from the interest that is owed to the tenant. If the landlord does not pay the interest owed to the tenant when it is due, the tenant can:
a) deduct the interest from a future rent payment, or
b) file a Tenant Application for a Rebate form
Can a landlord ask for a deposit for keys?
Yes, but only if:
a) the deposit is refundable, and
b) the amount of the deposit is not more than the expected cost of replacing the key(s) if they are not returned to the landlord.
The landlord must return the deposit to the tenant when the tenant returns their key(s) at the end of their tenancy.
Can the landlord charge for additional or replacement keys?
The landlord can charge a tenant for additional keys that the tenant requests (for example, if the tenant wants an extra key or if the tenant has lost their key), however, the charge cannot be more than the actual cost to the landlord to get the additional keys.
If the landlord changes the locks, can the landlord charge the tenant for the new keys?
A tenant does not have to pay for new keys when the landlord decides to replace the lock with a new one, but the landlord may ask for a refundable key deposit for the new keys.
Can the landlord charge the tenant a damage deposit?
A landlord cannot collect a damage deposit that they would use if there is damage done to the unit. Also, a landlord cannot use the last month’s rent deposit to cover damages in the unit.
If the landlord finds that a tenant has damaged the unit or caused damage to the building, the landlord can give the tenant a notice and/or ask them to pay for the damages. If they do not, the landlord can apply to have the Landlord and Tenant Board determine if there are damages and what should be done about them.
Can a landlord charge a fee is a tenant’s rent cheque is returned NSF?
If a tenant’s rent cheque is returned NSF, a landlord can ask for the tenant to pay for the charges the landlord has to pay to the bank, plus an administrative charge of up to $20.00. The landlord can also claim any NSF charges they paid in an application to the Board for arrears of rent.
For more information on the Landlord and Tenant Board, visit their website.