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Can a Landlord legally withhold the Deposit? #AskEtchells

The Rental Housing Act aims to first & foremost protect the landlord & tenant from illegal & unfair practises in an effort to establish a better working relationship between both parties.

According to the Act, the landlord is required by law to refund the rental deposit & interest accrued to the tenant within 7 days of the expiry of the lease should there be no amounts owed for unpaid rent or costs to repair damages caused by the tenant.

If an amount is owed for repairs or outstanding rent/utilities, the landlord is required to refund the rental deposit & interest accrued less deductions within 14 days of restoration of the property. If the tenant is liable for damages to the property, he/she is entitled to a written & dated receipt of all repair costs.

To avoid delays in the refunding of a deposit, ensure that both landlord & tenant undertake the entry & exit inspection jointly at the beginning & end of the lease period. This guarantees that pre-existing defects are noted & either repaired by the landlord before the tenant takes occupation or the tenant agrees to take occupation despite the defects & repair himself/herself. The joint inspections clarify which party is liable & responsible for any repairs/damages to the property; failure to conduct a proper inspection means the landlord regards the property condition as acceptable & forfeits his right to claim repair costs at the end of the lease period.