Scheduling an Expedited Hearing

Some applications for dispute resolution are very urgent and it would be unfair for the applicant to wait for a regular hearing. The Residential Tenancy Branch has an expedited hearing process for these applications. 

The expedited hearing process is for emergency matters, where urgency and fairness necessitate shorter service and response time limits.

Expedited hearings are usually limited to applications for dispute resolution for:

  • an early end to tenancy
  • an order of possession for a tenant
  • emergency repairs

The Residential Tenancy Branch automatically considers these application for an expedited hearing. Usually, the branch tries to schedule them for a hearing within 12 days from the date the application is made. In cases where there is evidence that violence has occurred, health and safety are severely jeopardized or there is a  demonstrable immediate danger or threat, the branch may schedule it for a hearing within six days.

Before you Apply

Before you apply, there are some things you should know about the expedited hearing process. 

You need to be ready to submit your evidence with your application. If your evidence isn't ready, you should wait until it is before you apply. 

You can't combine an application for an expedited hearing with another claim. For example, you can't apply for the landlord to do emergency repairs AND a monetary order for damages. To pursue the monetary claim, you would need to file a separate application for dispute resolution which would be scheduled according to the usual process

You also can't apply for an expedited hearing for other disputes like an order of possession and monetary order for unpaid rent, or to keep a security deposit. However, there are rare circumstances where an application other than one of those listed above may be scheduled for an expedited hearing at the discretion of the director of the branch.

The branch may contact you to confirm dispute details before scheduling the matter for an expedited hearing.

Once the application is scheduled for a hearing, you can't amend it except at the hearing with the permission of the arbitrator. If you try to amend your application to something unrelated -- for example, from an application to end a tenancy early to an order of possession for unpaid rent --your application will likely be dismissed with leave to reapply and you'll need to start the process over. 

This discourages "queue jumping" and ensures that expedited hearing slots are available for the most urgent matters. 

How to Apply

Landlords and tenants can apply for dispute resolution if they can’t resolve a problem related to their tenancy. The decision made after a dispute resolution hearing is final and binding.

Apply Online Now

After you Apply

Once you apply and the filing fee is paid (or a fee waiver approved), the Residential Tenancy Branch may contact you to confirm dispute details before scheduling the matter for an expedited hearing.

If the branch is satisfied that the matter should be scheduled for an expedited hearing, they will prepare a Notice of Dispute Resolution Proceeding package which provides information about the hearing (i.e. the date, time and place) along with instructions about how to prepare.

The Notice of Dispute Resolution Proceeding package is provided based on the application method used:

Application Method

The Residential Tenancy Branch will…

In person – Residential Tenancy Branch offices

Let the applicant know when to return to pick up the documents and instructions on how to serve them

In person – Service BC locations

Phone or email the applicant to let them know when to pick up and serve their documents

Other

Phone or email the applicant to let them know when to pick up and serve their documents

Online

Email the Notice of Hearing documents and instructions on how to serve them or let the applicant know when they can attend a Residential Tenancy Branch office of Service BC location to pick up their documents

Serving the Notice of Dispute Resolution Proceeding Package

Because service and response time limits are shorter than usual, the methods of service you can use are restricted. If the hearing date is between six and 11 days after the date the application is made, you must serve the package:

  • by leaving a copy with the person
  • if the person is a landlord, by leaving a copy with an agent of the landlord, or
  • if the person is a tenant, by leaving a copy at the tenant's residence with an adult who apparently resides with the tenant.

If the hearing date is between 12 and 16 days after the date the application is made you can also use these methods:

  • by attaching a copy to a door or other conspicuous place at the address at which the person resides, or
  • if the person is a landlord, by attaching a copy to a door or other conspicuous place at the address at which the person carries on business as a landlord.

If you don't think you'll be able to use one of those methods, you should contact the branch before you apply. 

You need to serve each respondent with a Notice of Dispute Resolution Proceeding Package within one day of it being available. Once you've served the package, you need to complete an RTB 9 - Proof of Service form and submit it to the branch.

The application may be considered abandoned and the hearing cancelled if you don't pick up the Notice of Dispute Resolution Proceeding Package within the one day window. The filing fee is not refunded in these cases.

Rescheduling of Hearings

Written consent from both the applicant and the respondent is required to reschedule a hearing. The party making the request to reschedule should provide signed written consent to the Residential Tenancy Branch directly or through a Service BC office not less than three days before the scheduled date of the hearing.

The hearing will start as scheduled if the parties cannot agree to reschedule before the deadline or they do not inform the branch. At that time, both parties will have opportunity to share their views and the arbitrator will decide whether to adjourn the hearing.

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: May 24, 2019

Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch