Preparing Evidence

Provide the best evidence to support your claim.

Evidence can be any type of proof presented in support of a claim, including:

  • Written documents, such as the tenancy agreement, letters, emails, receipts, pictures and the sworn or unsworn statements of the witnesses
  • Photographs, video recordings or audio recordings
  • Oral statements of the parties or witnesses that may be given under oath or affirmation

Physical objects such as a piece of carpet or a light bulb should not be submitted as evidence and will not be accepted. When odours are an issue, witness statements may be helpful.

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All evidence must be relevant, reliable, authentic, complete and legible.

  • Relevant evidence relates directly to the issues claims. For example, a photograph of a stained carpet would be relevant when the dispute is over the cost of cleaning or replacing the carpet.
  • Reliable evidence is an accurate representation of events that hasn’t been distorted. When in doubt, ask: “Is this a good source of information about the event?”
  • Authentic evidence is proof that is exactly the same as the original. For example, a digital photograph is considered as authentic if the copies are the same as the original.
  • Complete evidence provides as much information as possible about the event or situation. For example a video showing the condition of a rental unit might begin at the front door and show the unit number and include audio commentary to give context.
  • Legible evidence should be readable, clear and easy to understand. For example, it should be obvious from an image what’s being shown – they should not require interpretation or explanation.

Submit evidence along with your application or as soon as possible afterwards. Provide copies of evidence to the other party as soon as possible.

Some evidence must be submitted with the application. 

You must submit the following documents with your application:

  • The Notice to End Tenancy for disputes over ending a tenancy where the notice has been served
  • A Monetary Order Worksheet (PDF, 1.5MB) for disputes where you are requesting money

Applicants must give copies of all evidence to each of the other parties and the Residential Tenancy Branch as soon as possible and so that they receive it not less than 14 days before the hearing.

Respondents must give copies of all evidence to each applicant and the Residential Tenancy Branch as soon as possible and so that they receive it not less than 7 days before the hearing.

Calculating Timelines

When calculating the due date, do not count:

  • The day a person, business or the Residential Tenancy Branch receives the documents
  • The day of the hearing

If the last possible date for it to be received falls on a day that a business is not open, the last possible date becomes the next date that the business is open.

The best way to submit evidence to the Residential Tenancy Branch is online, but that isn't your only option.

There are special requirements for serving evidence to the other party.

Digital evidence includes photographs, audio recordings or video recordings or electronic versions of printable documents.

You can provide digital evidence by:

  • Uploading it with your Online Application for Dispute Resolution
  • Uploading it later through the Dispute Access Site
  • Providing it to the Residential Tenancy Branch and the other party on a device like a USB stick, CD or DVD.

No matter how you provide digital evidence, you must:

  • Describe the evidence
  • Identify photographs (for example, with a logical numbering system and description)
  • Provide a time code for the key point in each audio or video recording
  • Provide a statement as to the significance of each digital file

Submitting evidence on a USB memory stick CD, DVD or other digital device?  You must:

  1. Submit a digital copy of all evidence files to the Residential Tenancy Branch and the other party as soon as possible. 
    • Note: digital devices will not be returned. 
    • To ensure privacy is protected, sharing evidence via web applications that are widely accessible is not permitted – this includes apps like YouTube, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa or WikiAlbums.
  2. Ensure access to the files – the other party and the Residential Tenancy Branch must be able to view or play back the evidence.
  3. Provide a printed written description of the digital evidence along with an index or table of contents to the other party and the Residential Tenancy Branch using Digital Evidence Details form (PDF). For example:
  • For a photograph: "stain on living room carpet taken during condition inspection on June 30, 2017"
  • For a video: "Video at time code 2:02 of using the kitchen faucet to turn on hot water, recorded on March 17, 2017"

 

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: September 23, 2017.

Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch