Depending on the location of the tenancy, the allowable deposit varies. In most jurisdictions, landlords can ask for a security deposit, which is usually equal to the last month's rent. In Ontario, however, landlords can only ask for a rent deposit and they cannot use this amount to cover damage to the premises. In Quebec, the landlord cannot ask for a deposit. Check the Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets for province-specific information on what a landlord can legally require from new tenants.
In most jurisdictions, each year when there is a rent increase, the landlord can ask the tenant to top up the amount of the deposit. In practice, however, landlords rarely ask for it.
Across the country, all tenants are entitled to the return of their deposits with interest after they move out. If the deposit is used to pay for the last month's rent, then no money is refunded. However, if a provincial authority holds the deposit or the tenant pays the last month's rent, then the tenant will receive a refund. It is common for the accumulated interest to equal the difference between the monthly rent at the beginning and end of the tenancy.
Depending on the location of the tenancy, the landlord may use some or all of the money to cover unpaid rent, cleaning or necessary repairs to the property. Check the Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets for province-specific information. Calculation of interest varies depending on where you live. There is more information on this topic in the Moving Out section.
If your deposit cheque is accepted by a landlord, make sure you get a receipt with the address of the apartment, the landlord's name and the name and phone number of the person who accepted your cheque.