a man signs a cheque

Usually, the buyer will provide a deposit with their offer to purchase or after their offer is accepted. That deposit is usually held in the buyer’s real estate licensee’s brokerage trust account. The brokerage holds the deposit as stakeholder. This means they are holding it as a neutral party, and not on behalf of the buyer or seller.

If your contract contains subject clauses in the buyer’s favour and they do not remove those clauses, they will not automatically get their deposit back. Both you and the buyer will have to sign a separate release form, except where the buyer is exercising their right of rescission.

If a release is required, and one of the parties does not agree to sign it, both you and the buyer will have to obtain legal advice, as the brokerage cannot release the deposit unless you and the buyer have agreed to do so. Should there be no agreement between you and the buyer, the brokerage may request to pay the funds to the B.C. Supreme to have a judge rule on where the deposit is to go.

  • Note: Should the buyer rescind their accepted offer per their rights under the Home Buyer Rescission Period Regulation within three business days, the brokerage will pay you the 0.25% rescission fee directly to you, and return the remaining balance of the deposit to the buyer.  In this case, no separate release form will need to be signed by either party.

    Learn More About the Home Buyer Rescission Period

Unless the contract specifically states that any interest earned on a deposit will be payable to either the seller or the buyer, interest is payable to the Real Estate Foundation of B.C.

If a deposit is to be held by someone other than a real estate brokerage, you should obtain independent legal advice to ensure there is no concern about either how the deposit is to be held or the terms upon which it may be released.

Learn More About Deposits