Residential Tenancy Law
and how we can help you with it
Tenancy disputes hit close to home - literally - and any uncertainty about the future of your home as a tenant, or the future of your investment (and oftentimes home, too) as a landlord can be very stressful. Regardless of which side of a tenancy agreement you are on, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities to protect yourself from a potential dispute, or to best deal with an ongoing dispute.
Many people contact the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) when they have tenancy-related questions and they expect (or anticipate) receiving legal advice from the Information Officers answering their call. While the RTB does provide general tenancy-related information to callers, they do not provide legal advice and the information they provide may or may not be applicable to your specific circumstances.
We therefore always recommend that you contact a lawyer to get legal advice about your specific situation, as that may save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in the long-run. Click here to get in touch with us.
How we can help
Not all tenancy-related issues require legal representation and sometimes legal advice is all you need. That's why we always start with either a 30-minute or a 1-hour a legal advice appointment to see if you require assistance and if you do, to what extent we can assist you. Once we have a sense of your situation, our next step is to discuss the type of assistance that you require.
Unlike other types of disputes, the Residential Tenancy Branch schedules one-hour hearings and expects landlords and tenants to tender all of their evidence and make all of their submissions within that timeframe. This includes calling witnesses and answering any questions that an arbitrator may have. In reality, that offers each party about 20 minutes to convince an arbitrator of their position, regardless if it's asking for an order for repairs or fighting an eviction. And if that wasn't challenging enough, parties are expected to do all of this over the phone, not in person.
Our approach therefore is to prepare an evidence package along with comprehensive written submissions that communicate our clients' position and also set out the law that we are relying on before a hearing, and to attend the hearing and walk the arbitrator through the submissions, pointing them to any relevant evidence that is submitted. While we cannot guarantee any specific outcome, the work we do before and during a hearing also assists in the event a judicial review of an RTB decision is required.
Although our goal is to offer certainty in our fees by primarily offering fixed-fee retainer bundles, we recognize that some clients either do not need or want full representation. This is why we also offer build-it-yourself retainer packages as well as unbundled legal services to allow our clients the flexibility to select the extent of assistance they need for a price that they can afford.
Even if you're not wanting to retain a lawyer but still have a tenancy issues, we have put together a list of resources that may assist you and we are regularly adding 'frequently asked questions' to our blog, among other updates.
If you think you require assistance, you can get in touch with us here.