A landlord in British Columbia was ordered to return a security deposit to tenants who left the unit a mess because of a mistake made during dispute resolution.
The tenants had paid a $725 deposit to the landlord when they moved in. Two years later, the tenants left owing money, and without cleaning the rental property. The unit required 11 hours of cleaning and repairs. The landlord claimed damages of $875.60, but offered this itemization, totalling over $1,000:
$112 for carpet cleaning
$154 for general cleaning
$30.80 for cleaning materials
$336 for painting
$117 for painting materials
$100 for filling 2 holes in walls
$179.20 for furniture removal.
The landlord filed for dispute resolution in order to apply the security deposit and claim additional damages.
The landlord submitted this evidence is support of the claim: photos of the rental unit, a security deposit refund worksheet, move-in and move-out inspection reports, and the tenancy agreement. However, the landlord did not provide receipts, invoices or records of payment made. The tenants did not appear at the hearing.
The Dispute Resolution Officer found that in order to claim the right to deduct the items from the security deposit, the landlord must show:
The damage or loss occurred;
The tenants caused the damage or loss;
The actual amount of the loss is clearly established; and,
The landlord took steps to mitigate the losses.
The DRO indicated that the landlord suffered a loss, the tenants caused that loss, and the landlord took steps to mitigate the loss. However, it was determined that, without the receipts, the landlord failed to clearly establish the actual amount of the loss.
As a result, an order was entered for the return of the entire security deposit, and the landlord’s application was dismissed, without leave to reapply.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.