|Authority||Residential Tenancy Branch, Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing|
Peter was dissatisfied with the decision from a Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) hearing. The Residential Tenancy Act stated that an application for review of a decision must be submitted to the RTB within 15 days after receipt of the decision. On the 15th day, Peter submitted an application through a Service BC office to the RTB for review of the hearing decision. Later that evening, Peter faxed additional information in support of the request. The review decision upheld the original hearing decision. The additional information sent by Peter in the evening was not considered in the review because it was received after the office closed. Peter complained to our office that his additional information should have been considered because it was sent on the due date.
We investigated whether the RTB followed a reasonable procedure in processing Peter's application for review. The Residential Tenancy Act specified the number of days to apply for a review. The RTB told us it considers 4:00 p.m., RTB's office closing time, to be the cut-off time for accepting documents, with documents received after closing processed as being received the next day.
We identified that the cut-off time and fax number for receiving evidence was not published on its website or correspondence. We noted that ensuring people are provided with clear information about deadlines is an important feature of a fair process. The RTB acknowledged that it would be important from a service perspective to provide clear information about its fax number and cut-off times on the website and in correspondence for the public to avoid these situations in the future. Due to this, the RTB updated its website, correspondence and relevant fact sheets to include a fax number and the cut-off time of 4:00 p.m.
Peter understood that the change in practice did not benefit him directly, however, he was pleased that the change could benefit persons who submit documents in future. Happily, his landlord did not follow through with his eviction.
|Category||Housing and Property|
|Location||Vancouver Island / Sunshine Coast|