To promote transparency and fairness for renters and landlords, B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) will record audio of all dispute-resolution hearings.
“This change will help bring more fairness, transparency and justice for everyone involved in a tenancy dispute,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, chair of the Rental Housing Task Force and MLA for Vancouver-West End. “The recording of dispute-resolution hearings fulfils an important recommendation of the Rental Housing Task Force. Renters and rental housing providers all agreed this change was important to improve accountability and confidence that justice has been served.”
Having an audio record of what happened during a dispute-resolution hearing will give all parties more confidence in the process and promote good conduct. Previously, the RTB has not recorded dispute-resolution hearings, which made it difficult for parties who felt they were not treated fairly to challenge a decision. This change, effective immediately, will ensure all parties involved in dispute resolution can feel confident in the outcome.
This change has also been called for by tenant advocates and the Office of the Ombudsperson. All participants in dispute resolution will benefit from a formal record of their hearing and will be able to use the record if they have any concerns. Any hearing participant seeking a copy of their recording can contact the RTB and it will be provided free of charge.
“The Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre has always hoped that this Rental Housing Task Force recommendation would be implemented,” said Andrew Sakamoto, executive director, Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre. “All dispute-resolution participants deserve a right to procedural fairness, and recording hearings will go a long way toward improving transparency, accountability and consistency at the Residential Tenancy Branch.”
The RTB’s dispute-resolution process is designed to provide an open, consistent, efficient and just opportunity for all parties to tell their story and present evidence to an independent decision-maker. Dispute-resolution hearings are conducted over the phone to ensure equitable access throughout the province.
The Province has taken action on several fronts to protect the rights of renters and landlords in B.C., including closing the fixed-term lease loophole, limiting annual rent increases to the rate of inflation, creating a compliance and enforcement unit, and introducing protections to prevent illegal renovictions (evictions to complete renovations to a property).
Residential Tenancy Branch: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies
Online application for dispute resolution: www.gov.bc.ca/landlordtenant/online
Rental Housing Task Force recommendations: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/121/2018/12/RHTF-Recommendations-and-WWH-Report_Dec2018_FINAL.pdf