Roommates face off in BC legal fight over $25 damage deposit deduction

Two roommates found themselves in a BC Civil Resolution Tribunal hearing after one of the tenants failed to get his damage deposit back from the “head tenant.”

Jarrett Blair rented a room from Frank Halderman, and the tribunal described Halderman as the head tenant because he had a rental agreement with the landlord.

Blair said that Halderman didn’t return his security deposit. Halderman added that they deducted $25 from the deposit because of the damage that Blair caused and that they also tried to return the deposit by sending a bank draft by mail.

Halderman admitted that they sent the draft to the wrong address.

The tribunal sought to determine whether or not to order Halderman to return the deposit and the $25 he deducted. The decision was posted publicly.

Blair paid a security deposit of $370 on December 7, 2018. In January 2019, Blair began renting a room from Halderman, and this continued until March 31, 2023. There was a move-out inspection, and Blair said Halderman informed him that he would get his full deposit back despite some paint chipping off from a bedroom wall where some command strips were removed.

The tribunal didn’t fault Halderman for the mistake of sending the bank draft for the deposit to the wrong address and turned its attention to whether he was entitled to deduct $25 from the total amount.

Halderman told the tribunal they spent $56.25 on paint and other materials to make repairs.

Blair provided a witness statement from a friend who helped him move to corroborate his claim that Halderman said he would return the deposit in full.

The tribunal determined that Halderman failed to prove that Blair caused damage that was beyond what one would consider “normal” wear-and-tear for a four-year tenancy.

“I find the respondent is not entitled to make any deductions.”

Halderman was ordered to pay back the deposit in full within 14 days of the decision, but after tribunal fees were factored in, he owed $464.87 in total.