Need to know
- In Alberta, most landlords require a tenant to pay a security deposit (also known as a damage deposit) before moving in.
- A security deposit is a one-time only payment and cannot be more than one month’s rent.
- Landlords must follow certain rules for security deposits during a tenant’s move in and move out, as well as for returning security deposits.
- Tenants can write to their landlord requesting the return of their security deposit in some situations. For example, when the landlord does not provide a statement of account or the tenant does not agree with security deposit deductions.
Within two days of receiving a security deposit, the landlord must place it in a trust account. The deposit stays in the trust account until the tenant moves out. Landlords must also pay tenants interest on security deposits. Government regulation sets the interest rate for security deposits.
When the tenant moves out, the landlord may use the security deposit if there are valid reasons for deducting money from it. For example, a landlord can keep money from a security deposit if:
- the tenant owes money for rent
- the tenant damages the property and the landlord completes the inspection reports
- the tenant did not clean the property and the landlord completes the inspection reports
- the tenant did not return the keys
- the tenant owes money for fees
Statement of account
When the tenant gives up possession of the property (which is usually when the tenant gives the keys back to the landlord), the landlord has 10 days to deliver a statement of account to the tenant. The statement of account sets out:
- the original security deposit amount
- any payable interest
- the reason for and amount of any deductions
- the amount of the security deposit return to the tenant
“Deliver” means the landlord must put the statement in the mail to the tenant in 10 days. However, it does not mean the tenant has to receive it within 10 days.
If the landlord is returning some or all of the security deposit to the tenant, the landlord will then include a cheque along with the statement.
In some situations, the landlord won’t know the cost of repairs or cleaning right away. So, they won’t know how much to deduct from the security deposit. In that case, the landlord can deliver an estimated statement of account within 10 days. Also, they must provide a final statement of account within 30 days of the tenant giving up possession.
Requesting return of security deposit
Tenants can write to their landlords requesting the return of the security deposit if they:
- Do not receive a statement of account from their landlord
- Do not agree with the landlord’s deductions from the security deposit
Tenants who do not agree with security deposit deductions should outline reasons why the deductions are inappropriate or unreasonable (see sample request for return of security deposit below).
If the landlord and the tenant cannot come to an agreement on their own, then the tenant can make an application in Alberta Court of Justice or through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service for return of the security deposit.
Sample request for return of security deposit
Below is a template request for the return of a security deposit. To use it, copy the text into a typable document and insert your words in place of the prompt words in the square brackets. You can change the template wording to suit your situation.
To [Landlord’s name]:
I am writing about the security deposit that I paid under the lease of [rental property address]. I paid a [security deposit amount] security deposit when I moved in on [move-in date]. I lived in the property until [move out date] and I had paid the rent in full. I completed the move out inspection report with you on [date of move out inspection] and there was no damage marked down on the report, and the apartment was clean.
I did not receive my [security deposit amount] from you, or a statement of account as required by the Residential Tenancies Act.
If I do not hear from you on or before [deadline for landlord’s response], I will file an application for return of my security deposit with the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service.
I look forward to receiving my security deposit, which you can send to [specify where you want the landlord to return the security deposit e.g., a mailing address or e-transfer]. You can reach me further at [your contact information].
Moving in FAQs
Moving out FAQs