Serving Notices for Dispute Resolution

Serving Notices for Dispute Resolution

A dispute resolution proceeding is a formal process that uses special rules to ensure everything is done in a fair manner – especially when serving a Notice of Hearing package. This gives each party a fair opportunity to review all documents and evidence before the hearing and decide how to respond. An arbitrator may refuse to consider evidence that is not served properly.

The person who applies for dispute resolution (the applicant) is required to serve a Notice of Hearing Package to all respondents listed on the tenancy agreement. Each co-tenant and each landlord must receive their own package. The hearing package includes the following documents provided by the Residential Tenancy Branch:

  • Notice of Hearing Letter: A letter that provides the names of all applicant(s) and respondent(s) as well as the hearing date, time and location – also conference call details are provided for hearings conducted by phone
  • Application for Dispute Resolution: Information that outlines the nature and details of the dispute
  • Fact Sheet - The Dispute Resolution Process (PDF): An overview document that describes how the process works

The applicant must provide any evidence filed with the application that supports the applicant’s claim along with the Hearing Package. Other evidence must be served as soon as possible, and in any event, not less than 14 days before the hearing.

Both the applicant and respondent must serve documents and evidence as soon as possible. An arbitrator may dismiss the claim or choose to not consider documents that have been served late or improperly.

Notice of Hearing Package

When you receive the Notice of Hearing package, take note of the date on the upper-right corner of the letter (the first page) – all documents need to be served to the respondents within three days of that date. For example, if the date on the letter is March 2nd, all documents must be delivered to each of the other parties no later than March 5th.

The following rules also apply to serving documents related to a dispute resolution proceeding or decision to proceed with a review of a previous decision.

Method

It’s considered received…

Give a copy directly to the landlord or tenant

Same day

Leave a copy with the landlord’s agent (tenants should note the name of the person)

Same day

Send a copy by registered mail to the:

  • Residential address for the landlord or tenant
  • Forwarding address provided by a tenant
  • Place where a landlord conducts business as a landlord

5 days later when the person does not say or show that they received it on an earlier date

Deliver a copy to a tenant’s place of work

Not allowed unless the tenant provides their workplace as a forwarding address

Order of Possession or Ending a Tenancy

A landlord needs to serve copies of an Application for an Order of Possession (with no request for compensation) or Application to End the Tenancy Early to the tenant (or each co-tenant) using one of the following methods:

Method

It’s considered received…

Give a copy directly to the tenant

Same day

Send a copy by registered mail to the tenant’s residence

5 days later when the tenant does not say or show that they received it on an earlier date

Attach a copy to the door or other noticeable place at the address where the tenant lives (monetary claim documents cannot be attached to the door)

3 days later when the tenant does not say or show that they received it on an earlier date

Leave a copy with an adult (19 years or older) who apparently lives with the tenant (landlords should note the name of the person)

Same day

In any other way that is ordered by the Residential Tenancy Branch

Determined by the Residential Tenancy Branch

Slide a copy under the person’s door

Not considered served – this is an unacceptable method

Evidence and Other Documents

Don’t wait until the last minute to serve evidence. Both the applicant and the respondent are responsible for providing copies of all evidence to the other party and the Residential Tenancy Branch. Copies of the evidence should be provided as soon as possible – it’s ideal if the applicant's evidence is included along with the Notice of Hearing Package. This will give everyone time to review evidence before the hearing.

Even if your evidence is not available when you get the Notice of Hearing package, it should be submitted as soon as possible so that the hearing can proceed at the scheduled time. The arbitrator may or may not consider evidence that is not served properly. If evidence cannot be served in a timely manner because of something out of a party’s control (e.g. a strike that prevents service), then evidence must be served so that others have as much time as possible before the hearing.

Evidence not already served with an application, or by the respondent once they have received the Notice of Hearing package, may be served by any one of the following methods:

Method

It’s considered received…

Give a copy directly to the person

Same day

Leave a copy with the landlord’s agent (tenants should note the name of the person)

Same day

Send a copy by registered or regular mail to the person’s residential address (or the place where
the landlord conducts business as a landlord)

5 days later when the person does not say or show that they received it on an earlier date

Leave a copy in a mailbox or mail slot at the address where the person lives (or the place where the landlord does business as a landlord)

3 days later when the person does not say or show that they received it on an earlier date

Fax a copy to the service contact number provided

3 days later

Delivering a copy to a tenant’s place of work

Not allowed unless the tenant provides their workplace as a forwarding address

Slide a copy under the person’s door

Not considered served – this is an unacceptable method

Important Considerations

Here are a few things to remember when serving documents:

Calculating when a notice is considered received: Don’t count the day the document was mailed, faxed, attached to the door, etc. For example, if sending documents by ordinary mail on November 1st, the documents are considered to have been served on November 6th.

Submit copies of your proof of service: Regardless of the method used to serve notice, be prepared to satisfy the Residential Tenancy Branch or a court that the document was properly served. Submit copies of your proof of service to the Residential Tenancy Branch as soon as possible.

Registered mail: Get a receipt from Canada Post and print the online tracking report from the Canada Post website. Give copies of your registered mail receipt and tracking report to the Residential Tenancy Branch, noting your file number on your submission A person can’t avoid service by refusing to accept registered mail. Where registered mail is refused or deliberately not picked up, service is considered to be on the fifth day after mailing. ‚Äč

In-person: Get a sworn statement from somebody who personally delivered the documents or who witnessed you giving or sending the documents.

Serving Documents Using Other Methods

In rare cases, you may have difficulty serving a document using one of the available options. To serve documents in a different way you need to apply for a special order.

Proof is required that shows:

  • Reasonable effort to serve the documents via one of the available options was unsuccessful
  • The other party is likely to receive the document using a method proposed

When Documents Aren’t Served Properly

Not serving documents or evidence properly could mean:

  • An application is dismissed (with or without leave to reapply)
  • Evidence is not considered or
  • The hearing is adjourned

The other party may also request the hearing be adjourned (postponed) because they didn’t have time to respond, or they may ask the arbitrator not to consider late evidence. If the other party was not served documents at all, they could apply to have the final decision reviewed.

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: October 3, 2016.