The Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) has a dispute resolution process through which landlords and tenants have an opportunity to have their tenancy concerns addressed. Once an arbitrator hears a case and considers the facts, they will make a decision (such as upholding an eviction notice) which might include granting an order (such as an order of possession). These decisions and orders are legally binding and enforceable. What can you do if you disagree with a decision or order?
What is a Review Consideration?
The RTB has a process called an Application for Review Consideration through which they consider whether to grant reviews of decisions and orders. While this is not an opportunity to reargue or to submit evidence about your case that could have been presented at the original hearing, it can give you a chance to have a decision or order reconsidered for reasons of fairness.
What Are the Grounds for Review?
You can apply for a review consideration on one or more of the following three grounds:
1. Unable to Attend
A review of a decision or order may be granted if you were unable to attend your hearing for circumstances that were unanticipated and beyond your control. When applying for a review, you must submit proof that supports your position. For example, if the reason for not attending the hearing was an unexpected hospitalization, medical records that indicate the nature of the illness or a hospital stay might be relevant.
2. New and Relevant Information
Having new and relevant information that wasn’t available to you at the time of the hearing is another reason for review. It is important that any information that is submitted based on this ground clearly shows how it is relevant to your case, how it proves (or disproves) evidence from the original hearing, and why it wasn’t available at the original hearing. The results of a remediation assessment report for damages caused by a flood that didn’t become available until after the hearing is an example of new and relevant information.
You can ask for a review of a decision or order if you believe and can establish that it was obtained by fraud. Intentionally providing false testimony, such as a landlord testifying that you owe them money because you didn’t pay rent even though you did, is an example of fraud. When applying for a review consideration based on fraud, it is important that you are able to show evidence that proves the intentional use of false information, such as receipts, witness statements, or affidavits.
If filing an application for a review consideration is not an option, there may be alternative options available to you. Contact TAPS for more information and referrals.
When Can I File an Application?
The application process is time sensitive. You must file an application within:
2 days of receiving a decision or order for issues relating to:
- An order of possession
- Sublet or assignment of a tenancy
- An eviction notice for nonpayment of rent
5 days of receiving a decision or order for issues relating to:
- Repairs or maintenance
- Terminating services or facilities
- Eviction notices other than for nonpayment of rent
15 days of receiving a decision or order for issues relating to:
- Any other matter
How Do I File an Application?
To apply for a review consideration, you must fill out the Application for Review Consideration form and file it at the RTB office along with all relevant evidence. The form is available on the RTB website, at the RTB office, or here at TAPS. There is a $25 filing fee which may be waived by filling out the Application to Waive Filing Fee form and showing proof of (low) income.
What Happens Now?
Once the application is filed, the RTB will make a decision about whether to accept or deny the request for review consideration. If the RTB accepts, they will either: order a new hearing with a new arbitrator, order a written hearing, or order the original hearing to reconvene with the original arbitrator.
Original decisions and orders are put on hold until the RTB makes a final decision. It might be useful to tell your landlord that you have filed an application for review consideration in order to avoid the possibility of your landlord unknowingly pursuing an enforcement of a decision or order that should be on hold.
I Need Help!
Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch (250-387-1602) or speak with an advocate at TAPS (250-361-3521) for more information about applications for review consideration. TAPS Tenant Advocates can assist with providing forms and guiding you through the application process.