Edmonton renters and owners wage war over damage deposits

An interesting article I came across today in regards to landlords and tenants having issues in regards to damage deposits. its important for both owners and tenants alike to be informed.  enjoy the article


Edmonton renters and owners wage war over damage deposits


Hundreds of Edmonton landlords and renters go to war every year over the dreaded damage deposit.

It's the second-most common area of dispute between tenants and property owners.

In the first three months of this year, 346 tenants called the board to complain about damage deposits. In the same time period, 445 landlords called about the same issue.

"The security deposit is one of the biggest issues for both parties," said Judy Downey of the landlord and tenant advisory board.

The deposits are intended to encourage tenants to keep their rented condos or apartments clean and well maintained.

But some tenants say they're being abused by landlords who simply find any excuse to keep the money when renters move out.

Reza and Nadia Azimi say when they ended their two-year lease with Westcorp Properties, they took extra care to clean their rented condo.

But Westcorp, they say, still found reasons to keep their $700 damage deposit.

The Edmonton couple are landlords themselves.

"If my tenant had done the same job, I would have rewarded them," said Reza Azimi.

'For me, it's spotless'

"For me, it's spotless," said Nadia. "I'm a little bit picky, but when I saw the house I said, 'Oh, they can give the key to the next person to go and just move in.'"

But when the condo was inspected, Westcorp wasn't satisfied.

"She said the burner is burned, but that's just the burner, right?" said Nadia. "It has to be burned after two years that you live in a condo. And she went to the bathroom, and she said the bathtub is not clean enough. The color is not white enough."

A spokesperson for Westcorp said the company won't talk about individual cases, but in general is "entitled to hold back money from a security deposit based on damages caused by the resident that go above and beyond normal wear and tear."

Landlords are required to make two inspections — at least a week apart — at the end of a lease, said Downey. That gives tenants time to address any problems.

Under the act, once a tenant moves out, the landlord has 10 days to provide what's called a "statement of account" regarding the security deposit, Downey said. The landlord can deduct costs for cleaning and damages, as long as they've completed both a move-in and a move-out inspection. She recommends that both tenants and landlords take photos when renters are moving in, and again when they're moving out.

On that 10-day statement, the landlord is required to give an estimate of deductions and any balance to be returned to the tenant. The balance must be returned within 30 days.

But the Azimis said they only had one inspection, and weren't given the chance to remedy any problems.

They wonder how many tenants across the city have run into similar problems over deposits back.

The next step for the Azimis may well be a trip to court, Downey said.

"The remedy for both the landlord and the tenant is to make the application to court," she said. "Whoever presides over the hearing will make that decision, as to whether or not it's normal wear and tear or damage."

CBC news article

Gavin Heintz

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