Apology for an administrative error

Authority Residential Tenancy Branch, Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing

Jay applied to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) for dispute resolution to have his security deposit returned by his former landlord. He also applied to have the landlord reimburse him the filing fee. Jay served his former landlord with the Hearing Documents by registered mail and sent a fax to the RTB with a registered mail receipt from Canada Post as proof of service.

A hearing was held by teleconference. Jay attended the hearing but the landlord did not. The arbitrator said he was unable to locate any of the documentation Jay had faxed. As a result, the arbitrator dismissed Jay’s claim because he wasn’t satisfied that the landlord received proper notice of the hearing.

When Jay received the written decision, he noted that the arbitrator had identified him as the landlord and his landlord as the tenant. Jay was also concerned that the arbitrator had failed to locate his evidence that the landlord had been served with the hearing documents so he simply dismissed his application. Jay believed it was unfair that the hearing was dismissed.

We contacted the RTB and alerted them to the possibility of an error on their part. The Branch agreed to review Jay’s file, however they were unable to locate a copy of the fax Jay had sent as proof of service of the hearing package. Since their records didn’t show that Jay’s fax was received and the arbitrator only considers the evidence before him, the RTB’s view was that it was appropriate that Jay’s application was dismissed with leave to reapply.

Jay provided us with a copy of confirmation of his fax to the RTB. The confirmation confirmed the date, time and fax number. We sent a copy to the RTB. In response, the Branch again reviewed its file and again informed us that It had no record of receiving Jay’s fax. The Branch said the standard procedure it follows is to enter faxes into the computer and the fax goes directly on the file.

In response to our query, the Branch indicated that it didn’t have problems with missing faxes and could not explain what happened in Jay’s case.

Given the fax confirmation that we provided, the Branch agreed to write a letter of apology to Jay and offer to waive the filing fee if Jay wanted to reapply for a new hearing. Jay was satisfied with this outcome.

Category Housing and Property
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2013
Location Vancouver Island / Sunshine Coast