The Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) can make legal decisions based solely on an applicant’s written submissions. This type of ex parte application – known as a “Direct Request” – can only be used in two specific situations:
- A landlord can use it to enforce a 10 Day Eviction Notice for Non-Payment of Rent, in order to obtain an Order of Possession and a monetary order for any unpaid rent.
- A tenant can use it to request the return of a security and/or pet damage deposit.
Before applying for a Direct Request, however, the applicant must wait until the opposing party has missed an important deadline:
- Landlord’s Direct Request:
- A landlord must wait five days after serving a 10 Day Notice, to give the tenant a chance to either pay their unpaid rent or apply for dispute resolution to challenge the notice. If the tenant pays their full rent, the eviction notice is canceled. If they apply for dispute resolution, a normal participatory hearing will be scheduled.
- Tenant’s Direct Request:
- A tenant must first provide their forwarding address in writing, indicating where they would like their deposit sent. Once the tenant has provided their forwarding address and the tenancy has ended, the landlord has 15 days to either return the deposit (or another agreed-upon amount) or apply for dispute resolution. If the landlord returns the deposit (or another agreed-upon amount), the tenant will have no grounds on which to apply for a Direct Request. If the landlord applies for dispute resolution to make a claim for the deposit, a normal participatory hearing will be scheduled.
The Direct Request process is for clear and obvious cases where the RTB feels confident making a decision without hearing from the respondent. The benefit of applying for a Direct Request is that it can offer a quicker resolution than a normal participatory hearing. But because the process excludes the respondent, the standard of proof is also higher. To be successful with a Direct Request, the applicant must submit all required documentation, with no exceptions. If the RTB has any questions or concerns about an applicant’s submitted documents, such as evidence related to proof of service, they may choose to adjourn the matter to a normal participatory hearing, or require the applicant to submit a new application.
- TRAC Webpage – Applying for Dispute Resolution
- RTB Policy Guideline 39 – Direct Requests
- RTB Policy Guideline 49 – Tenant’s Direct Request: Deposits
- RTB Information Sheet – The Landlord's Direct Request Process
- RTB Information Sheet – The Tenant’s Direct Request Process
- RTB Form – Tenant Direct Request Worksheet
- RTB Form – Tenant Application for Direct Request for Return of Security or Pet Damage Deposit