Security deposits and changes

Returning a deposit

Tenants have the right to get their security deposits back, if they meet certain conditions.

Security or damage deposit return conditions

When they move out, tenants have the right to get their deposits back, with any interest owing, as long as:

  • there is no damage beyond normal wear and tear. Normal wear and tear is deterioration that occurs over time with use even with reasonable care and maintenance
  • the rental premises have been properly cleaned
  • no rent or other costs are owing

Sample cleaning list for tenants (PDF, 1 page)

What’s important to know

Tenants should provide a forwarding address to the landlord in writing and keep copies of all their documents for 3 years.


If there are deductions, the landlord must do one of the following within 10 days:

  • return the balance of the deposit, if any, to the tenant with a statement of account that lists all the damages, repair costs and details of the cleaning charges
  • give the tenant an estimate of the deductions that will be made and return any money that won’t be used. The tenant must receive a final statement and any money owing within 30 days after the tenancy ends

Landlords can’t make deductions for damages or cleaning costs if the inspection report requirements are not met. But, they can take legal action to recover these costs.

Inspection report requirements (pdf)

Landlords are allowed to deduct for other costs not related to the condition of the residential rental premises without an inspection report.

If return conditions aren’t met

If the tenant doesn’t meet the conditions, the landlord has the right to keep part or all of the security deposit to cover costs. If the costs exceed the security deposit, the landlord can take legal action to claim for the money owing.

If there are no deductions for rent, cleaning, repairs, or other costs , such as utilities, late fees or legal fees, the landlord must pay the tenant the full deposit plus interest within 10 days of the day the tenant gave up possession of the rental premises.

Contact this service

Edmonton and area:

Other areas in Alberta (toll free):

8:15 am - 4:30 pm (Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)

Related services

Residential Tenancies Act and Regulations

Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Act