Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Security Deposit Definition:

Money paid to another to be held as security for the occurrence of a specified event.

An amount of money given to another to stand as security in the event of something happening, such as damage to a thing during the period of a lessee's tenure and use pursuant to a lease, or even unpaid rent.

A feature of residential or commercial leases where the landlord will require a security deposit to insure against rent left unpaid or damages occurring to the premises during the tenant's occupancy, as ascertained at the end of the lease. In the context of damages, the security deposit is also known as a damage deposit.

In Tessier v Rioux, Justice Dureault noted that a security deposit was:

".. money paid by the tenant is to be held as security against breaches pertaining to rent and damage."

For an example of the term used in statute, the Residential Tenancy Act of British Columbia define security deposit as:

"... money paid, or value or a right given, by or on behalf of a tenant to a landlord that is to be held as security for any liability or obligation of the tenant respecting the residential property, but does not include ... (a) post-dated cheques for rent (or) a pet damage deposit...."


  • Residential Tenancy Act SBC 2002 Chapter 78
  • R v Bennetos 6 BCLR 353 (BCCA, 1978)
  • Tessier v Rioux 32 Man R (2d) 186 (MBQB, 1984)

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