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Professional Standards Manual

Notice of Change: Information in this manual changed when new agency and disclosure rules came into effect on June 15, 2018. Learn more about the new rules.

Trading Services

2. Acting For Sellers

(f) Deposits - View Entire Section

(VII) Deposit Payable on Acceptance or Within a Stated Time Period

Section 27 of RESA requires that when a deposit is given to a licensee, that licensee must promptly deliver it to the licensee’s related brokerage, and, in turn, the brokerage must promptly place it in the brokerage’s trust account. Sometimes, the seller and buyer agree that a deposit will be payable on acceptance or within a stated time period. The following alternative methods of providing for the payment of a deposit are common:

(a) the Contract of Purchase and Sale may provide that the deposit is payable within a specified period of time after the acceptance of an offer. In this case, the following clause should be used in the contract:

Deposit Payable Within a Specified Period Clause

Deposit to be payable within(number of hours) hours of acceptance of this offer.

(b) the Contract of Purchase and Sale may provide for a small initial deposit payable within a specified period of time after the acceptance of an offer, which is to be increased to a specified amount upon removal of conditions precedent. In this case, use the following clause in the contract:

Increase of Deposit Clause

The deposit will be increased to $ (amount) upon removal of all conditions precedent. 

Pursuant to section 28 of RESA, a brokerage which receives a deposit holds that deposit as a stakeholder once there is an agreement between the parties for the acquisition and disposition of the real estate. Once there is this agreement, the brokerage does not hold the funds as an agent for one of the parties to the transaction. Therefore, once this agreement is in place, the brokerage can then only return the deposit to one of the parties to the transaction by express agreement between the parties.

If the buyer advises the brokerage that he or she has stopped payment or intends to stop payment on the deposit cheque before it has been deposited, the brokerage should advise the buyer that it is obligated under RESA to deposit the cheque as soon as possible. In this situation, the brokerage must deposit the cheque and then inform the seller or the seller’s agent of the situation without delay. The brokerage should advise the seller to obtain legal advice as to their position vis-a`-vis the buyer.