What is dispute resolution?
A dispute resolution hearing is like a landlord-tenant "court" where you can ask a dispute resolution officer to interpret the rules in the Residential Tenancy Act in order to settle a problem with your landlord. For example, you can ask for repairs, dispute an eviction notice, or seek compensation from your landlord. The dispute resolution officer will decide what to do about the problem, based on an interpretation of the law and your evidence such as letters, receipts, witnesses, tenancy agreement, etc.
Filing an application for dispute resolution
This is the form you need to fill out.
Applications for dispute resolution can be taken to a Residential Tenancy Branch office or Service BC Centre. You can also file online.
Do I need a lawyer?
The dispute resolution process at the Residential Tenancy Branch (www.rto.gov.bc.ca) is designed so that people can represent themselves. There are several useful resources to assist people in preparing for a hearing:
You should also look at the policy guidelines and fact sheets on the Residential Tenancy Branch website when you are preparing for a hearing!
Are you asking for damages?
If you are thinking about going after your landlord for "damages", or monetary compensation, here is a useful test before you apply.
- Do you have proof that damage or loss exists?
- Do you have proof that this damage or loss happened solely because of the actions or neglect of the respondent in violation of the Residential Tenancy Act or agreement?
- Do you have verification of the actual amount of money required to compensate for your claimed loss or to rectify the damage?
- Did you follow section 7(2) of the Residential Tenancy Act by taking steps to mitigate or minimize the loss or damage?
Useful links following a dispute resolution decision
If a Dispute Resolution Officer has issued a decision against you and you want advice on judicial review, see:
Do you need help collecting your money?
If you win your dispute resolution hearing but your landlord refuses to pay, you will need to go to Small Claims court. If your landlord still doesn't pay once you get a court order through Small Claims, you will need to take further action to get your money. Here are two links to pages that explain some of your options:
For information about bailiffs see:
Window on RTB
The Residential Tenancy Branch publishes a newsletter called “Window on RTB” that has more information on dispute resolution:
Have you called TRAC's telephone Infoline before? If you have a moment, we would appreciate some feedback on your experience: