How to Apply for a Hearing with the BC Residential Tenancy Branch

The Residential Tenancy Branch (“RTB”) is authorized under the Residential Tenancy Act and Regulation and the Manufactures Home Park Tenancy Act and Regulation. The scope of the branch is to provide a process for landlords and tenants to start a civil action in relation to a residential tenancy dispute. Some of the common matters the RTB hears relate to returning a deposit, ending a tenancy, demanding payment for rent or utilities, and obtaining possession of the rental unit.

In order to have your matter heard, you will need to schedule a date for the hearing, and the date will depend on the nature of the matter:

  • Expedited hearings for urgent matters: approximately 6-12 days.
  • Possession disputes: approximately eight weeks.
  • Monetary issues: approximately 12 weeks.

Hearing Procedure

At the hearing, an arbitrator will listen to the issues, hear and review the evidence presented by each party (the applicant will go first), ask questions, and provide a written decision (typically within 30 days).

Method of Hearing

A hearing can be conducted via:

  1. Teleconference – A standard hearing is conducted via teleconference, where both parties attend the hearing via phone. A date and time along with an access code is provided in advance;
  2. Direct Request – This is where the landlord has provided the tenant with a 10 day notice for possession of the rental unit or a monetary order. The landlord will submit documentation that must be clear. The adjudicator will then review the application and:
    – grant the request sought;
    – adjourn the matter to a hearing; or
    – dismiss the application all together.
  3. Written Hearings – This can be requested if:
    – you have a medical condition making a teleconference hearing impossible;
    – physical, geographical or language barriers exist;
    – evidence of legal representative for both parties;
    – there are large number of applicants or respondents without a spokesperson; or
    – there is a abusive or litigious relationship.
  4. In Person – this is only granted in circumstances where the party has a medical condition limiting their ability to participate in a teleconference.

Evidence

Parties must submit and receive copies of all evidence to be presented prior to the hearing:

  • In Person Hearing: Applicant: 14 days before the hearing/Respondent: 7 days before the hearing.
  • Amendment applications: 14 days before the hearing.
  • If served via registered mail: add 5 days to the deadline.
  • If served by leaving at the door: add 3 days to the deadline.
  • Digital evidence: serve it and confirm that the other party received it.

Application for Review Consideration

RTB may accept an Application for Review Consideration when:

  • a person was unable to attend a hearing for reasons unanticipated and beyond their control;
  • new evidence was not available at the time of the hearing; or
  • the other party intentionally acted fraudulently to obtain a desired outcome

Important

Service of notices or hearings are required in various situations and the rules must be followed to ensure you do not jeopardize your claim.

Requests for Extensions or Adjournments can be made.

COVID–19 RELATED MATTERS

  • The rental increase freeze is until July 10, 2021
  • Landlords are not able to combine 2020 rent increase and 2021 rent increases
  • Maximum rent increase amount in 2021 is 1.4%.
  • Rent increase notice must be provided not less than three full months before the notice takes effect
  • Tenants should be provided with a reasonable time to pay any rent they owe from an affected period (March 18, 2020 to August 17, 2020).
  • Failure to pay rent and non-payment of rent during lock down is not considered “cause” for one month eviction notice
  • Wearing a mask is required when accessing or showing a rental unit
  • The ban on evictions ended on Aug 17, 2020

Helpful Resources

Please note that this information is intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. For more information or assistance contact our office to speak with a lawyer directly.

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Mandy Badwal

Mandy Badwal

Mandy is an associate lawyer with Jiwa Law Corporation and her practice consists of matters relating to Wills and Estate Planning, Corporate and Commercial Transactions, and Real Estate Transactions.

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