Tenant Pays Price for Not Returning Keys

by Chris on January 2, 2013

A tenant who vacated early without returning the keys to his rental unit was ordered to pay his landlord for the cost of re-keying the locks.

After leaving the property, the tenant filed a complaint with the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch asking for the full return of his security deposit.  The tenant had not returned the keys, nor did he supply the landlord with a forwarding address.  Consequently, the landlord had not returned the undisputed portion of the security deposit.

The parties entered into a 6 month lease agreement, but the tenant left after about 10 weeks, according to the record. When the tenant vacated, he failed to return the keys to the unit. In order for new tenants to move in, the landlord was forced to pay $110 to re-key the lock.

Later, the keys for the old lock arrived in the mail.

The B.C. Residential Tenancies Act provides that when a tenant vacates a rental unit, that tenant must give the landlord all keys.

While the keys were eventually returned, they did not arrive in time to be useful, so the landlord was allowed the right to deduct that amount from the tenant’s security deposit.

The remainder of the deposit was ordered returned to the tenant; however, the tenant still showed reluctance to provide a forwarding address so that the landlord could return the funds.

The tribunal member refused to award the landlord the costs of sending legal notice via registered mail, or the filing fee.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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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.

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