Review, Clarify or Correct a Decision
A dispute resolution proceeding is a formal, legal process that results in an arbitrator making a final and binding decision. There are some situations where corrections can be made to minor errors or clarification about a particular detail is required. In limited cases, a final decision can be reviewed.
If a decision or an order contains obvious errors or if the arbitrator left out information they said would be included, either party may submit a Request for Correction (PDF) to the Residential Tenancy Branch, free of charge. It should be made within 15 days after receiving the decision or order and the other party does not need to be notified unless an arbitrator says to do so. Here are some examples:
The decision states that a tenancy started on January 1, 2006, when it was agreed that the tenancy had started on February 15, 2005 A word was used incorrectly that translated a negative into a positive
The Residential Tenancy Branch may also correct things like a misspelled name, incorrect address or math error – there is no time limit for requesting this type of correction. Making necessary corrections is important because an order may not be enforceable through the court if names or addresses are incorrect or incomplete. Here are some examples:
The dispute address in the decision is 498 Ogilvie St. – it should be 489 Ogilvie St. The decision refers to a monetary order for $803 but the order says $308 The decision identifies James Jonas as the landlord while the order has Jonas James
- The decision stated a party was awarded the security deposit and the filing fee while the order doesn’t include the filing fee
Arbitrators write their decisions as plainly as possible. If a decision or order seems unclear, either party can submit a Request for Clarification (PDF) to the Residential Tenancy Branch, free of charge. It should be made within 15 days after receiving the decision or order and the other party does not need to be notified unless an arbitrator says to do so.
In limited circumstances, a landlord or a tenant may request a review of a decision or order. This is not a chance to reargue the case or review evidence that should have been presented at the original hearing. Instead, it’s an opportunity for a landlord or tenant to ask that an arbitrator take a second look at an original decision or order on these grounds:
New evidence: There is new and relevant evidence that was not available at the time of the original hearing. The evidence must be submitted with the review application – it must be clear how it is relevant, whether it proves or disproves evidence already presented, and why it was not available at the time of the original hearing (e.g. a report published after the original hearing).
Unable to attend: One of the parties can prove they were unable to attend the original hearing due to unexpected circumstances beyond their control. A party must submit evidence with their application that shows something unexpected or out of their control prevented them from attending (e.g. documentation that proves a person was extremely ill or in the hospital). Personal excuses such as “I forgot the time” or “my cell phone died” will not be considered.
Fraud: There is evidence that the original decision was obtained by fraud. A party must submit evidence to prove each of the following:
- Information presented at the original hearing was false
- The person submitting the information knew that it was false
- The false information was used to get the outcome desired by the person who submitted it
For example, if one party submits a falsified report (i.e. a report with information deleted from it), the party applying for review consideration would need to do all of the following:
- Submit both the original and changed reports
- Show how the other party would have known the information was deleted
- A copy of the arbitrator’s decision with highlighted references to the falsified report
How to apply: Complete an Application for Review Consideration (PDF) – be sure to clearly indicate the grounds for review and include all evidence that supports your claim. Submit your application along with the $50 filing fee:
Two days after receiving a decision or order related to:
- An Order of Possession
- Sublet or assignment of a tenancy
- A Notice to End Tenancy for Unpaid Rent
Five days after receiving a decision or order (other than an Order of Possession) related to:
- Repairs or maintenance
- Terminating services or facilities
- A Notice to End Tenancy (except for unpaid rent)
Fifteen days after receiving a decision or order related to any other matter
Possible outcomes: The arbitrator considers the written application and evidence only – it can either be dismissed or considered for further review.
Applications are dismissed if they:
- Simply require a correction or clarification of a decision
- Are not submitted in time and did not include proof that the applicant was prevented from applying on time
- Are not made in the approved form
- Do not provide a complete description of the reason(s) for review
- Do not provide sufficient evidence for a review
- Do not provide sufficient grounds for setting aside or amending a decision or order
- Are not based on the law, real facts or proper grounds for review
Applications are successful if they demonstrate that a decision or order needs to be reconsidered based on one of the grounds for review. In these cases, an arbitrator will order:
- A new hearing with a new arbitrator where both parties will be invited to submit evidence, attend the hearing and make statements; or,
- A written hearing where the decision will be based only on documents submitted and evidence from the original hearing – both parties may be invited to make additional submissions; or,
- The original hearing to reconvene with the original arbitrator to address a specific part of the claim – both parties will be invited to continue with the hearing
The Residential Tenancy Branch will send a copy of the decision to the party who made the Application for Review Consideration. If a review hearing is not granted, nothing more will happen. If a review is granted, the person who applied must:
A landlord or tenant can apply to the Supreme Court of British Columbia to set aside a decision that contains an error of fact or law or that is procedurally unfair. Disagreeing with a decision is not grounds for a judicial review.
Follow these steps to apply for judicial review:
- It’s best to seek legal advice before applying for a judicial review by the Supreme Court of British Columbia – if you plan to complete the process on your own, use the Judicial Review Guidebook (PDF) and review helpful information for petitions for judicial review.
- File a petition at the Supreme Court Registry
- Serve the petition and supporting documents to the other party and the Residential Tenancy Branch
- You can serve the Residential Tenancy Branch in person at the Burnaby Office or by registered mail at:
Residential Tenancy Branch
PO Box 9844
Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9T2
- Do not serve the petition and supporting documents at a Service BC Centre.
- Provide a filed copy of the petition and supporting documents to the Attorney General – the legal representative for British Columbia (providing a copy to the Residential Tenancy Branch is not enough)
The court cannot change the arbitrator's original decision – it can only review the process the arbitrator used to reach a decision and any mistakes they made in applying the law or deciding whether the Residential Tenancy Branch had authority to hear the case. The court may confirm the arbitrator’s original decision or set it aside and order a new hearing if:
- It is clear that the Residential Tenancy Branch breached its duty to be fair
- There was an error in law
- It is clear that the way the law was applied was patently unreasonable
There is a 60 day time limit for applying for a judicial review, although this time limit may be extended by the court.
After the court decides: After hearing the petition for judicial review, the Supreme Court Justice issues a decision – verbally or in writing. If the court orders a new hearing, one of the parties named in the order must submit a written request for a new hearing along with a copy of the court order to:
Residential Tenancy Branch
PO Box 9844
Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9T2
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.