Renter fights landlord in court who kept security deposit for minor issues

Apr 18 2023, 5:10 pm

A renter in BC took a landlord to court to get back her security deposit.

In the case between Emily O’Dea and Cian Dabrowski, O’Dea was hoping to get back her deposit of $625.

Meanwhile, Dabrowski claimed that she kept the deposit to cover repairs and other expenses, suggesting the cost was more than the security deposit.

Both parties represented themselves.

O’Dea and Dabrowski entered a rental agreement for one year between September 1, 2021, and August 31, 2022. O’Dea paid rent until July 2022 and moved out before July 31.

Court documents from the small claims case at the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal suggest that two rental contracts were involved, which set out “multiple circumstances” for Dabrowski to keep some or all of the deposit. In August 2022, Dabrowski explained why she was holding the deposit.

She explained that it was due to costs for the following items:

  • Repairing six deep screw holes from mirror mountings in the bedroom
  • Repainting two window sills where there were stains
  • Repairing scuffs and two small dents
  • Disposing of a coffee maker
  • General cleaning

According to Dabrowski, the costs totalled $728, but she only requested $625.

Unfortunately for Dabrowski, she never completed a condition inspection report when O’Dea moved in aside from a video walkthrough, which “is not sufficient” under the Residential Tenancies Act. The tribunal member overseeing the case determined that Dabrowski had “no entitlement to the security deposit.”

Dabrowski provided photos of the problems, but the tribunal member found the issues to be “minimal, limited, and easily fixed.”

Dabrowski also complained that O’Dea gave her keys to friends to access her suite, but the tribunal member suggested that wasn’t unreasonable.

The only matter that resulted in Dabrowski’s favour was her claim of $87.19 for unpaid utility bills, which the tribunal member subtracted from the deposit.

In the end, O’Dea was awarded $673, which included the balance of her security deposit, $125 in court fees, and $10.30 in pre-judgement interest.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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