Serving and Enforcing Orders

After the hearing, an arbitrator will provide a decision document – sometimes this will include direction for one of the parties to complete specific task (e.g. repair a leaky faucet). In some cases, an arbitrator will also issue a separate document called an “Order.”

Orders are official documents that are enforceable through the courts. This means a B.C. court can force a party to follow what is instructed on the order. The Residential Tenancy Branch does not enforce orders.

There are two types of orders that the Court will enforce:

  • Orders of Possession give the successful party possession of the rental property
  • Monetary Orders instruct a person to pay another person a specific amount of money

Get an overview of the process used to enforce:

The successful party in a dispute is required to serve a copy of the order to each party being ordered to do something. The Residential Tenancy Branch will provide original copies of the order to the successful party:

  • One for their records
  • One for the Court
  • One for each person named in the order

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. You can apply for a substituted service order online by going to the Dispute Access Site or by submitting a paper application to the Residential Tenancy Branch office in Burnaby or your local Service BC Centre

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


The successful party must serve the original order (or a true copy of the order from the Residential Tenancy Branch) to each party named in the order separately. This step must be done correctly, otherwise it will delay when the order can be enforced in court. If the successful party applies to the court to enforce the order, they may need to prove how they served the order.

The review period is the time someone has to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for review consideration of the decision. Their application must be submitted by a specific deadline, depending on the order or decision.

The way an order is served affects how the review period is calculated – it begins once the other party is considered by law to have received the order. For example, if a landlord posted an Order of Possession on a tenant’s door on March 5th, the earliest date they would be able to apply to the Supreme Court would be March 11th – one day after the three days for the order to be considered received plus two days for the review period.

If the Residential Tenancy Branch is closed on the last day of the review period, an application for review consideration can be submitted on the next business day that it’s open.

An order cannot be enforced until the review period has passed. Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch to find out if the other party has filed for an application for review before taking steps to enforce an order. If a review has been granted, an arbitrator may order that the original decision and order be suspended until a review decision is issued.

Enforcing an order happens quickly, often within a few days. Find out how the process works:

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 17, 2021.


Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch