Paying what's fair

Authority Residential Tenancy Branch, Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing

Alison had been involved in a dispute resolution hearing with her former landlord. At the hearing, the landlord was successful and the Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) awarded him an amount for unpaid rent and damages. However, the decision did not identify whether the security deposit should be repaid even though Alison requested this in her application. Because it was not addressed in the decision, the landlord did not repay Alison’s security deposit, and Alison was reluctant to pay the order. She believed it was incorrect because it did not account for the security deposit. The landlord then took steps to enforce the order. To avoid a payment hearing in provincial court, Alison paid the full amount of the order. This included an additional $101 which the landlord claimed in court costs for the payment hearing. In addition, the landlord continued to hold Alison’s security deposit.

We investigated whether the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) had adequately addressed the return of the security deposit in the decision. In response to our investigation, the DRO issued a clarification in which he ordered that the landlord could keep the security deposit and reduced the amount Alison owed accordingly. However, since Alison had already paid this amount, she had to obtain a further RTB order for the landlord to repay her.

We were concerned Alison had paid $101 in court costs to the landlord because the RTB did not deal with the security deposit in the original decision. Following consultation with our office the RTB agreed to issue an ex gratia payment of $101 to Alison. This restored her to the same financial position she would have been in had the RTB not made a mistake. Alison said she had received this payment and her former landlord had repaid the amount he owed her. We determined that the steps taken by the RTB settled the complaint and we closed our file.

Category Housing and Property
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2012
Location The Lower Mainland