At the time of applying for dispute resolution, you are expected to include any available evidence that you wish to rely on at the hearing. However, if you discover new evidence after applying, you can still add that evidence to your application – as long as it is served as soon as possible and received by the Residential Tenancy Branch and respondent not less than 14 days before the hearing. If you are the respondent in a dispute resolution application, the same rules apply, but with a different evidence deadline: once you have received the applicant’s evidence, you must submit your own evidence as soon as possible, so that it can be received by the RTB and applicant not less than seven days before the hearing.
It may be tempting to withhold evidence to try and gain an advantage over your landlord, but the RTB Rules of Procedure clearly require applicants and respondents to submit evidence as soon as possible. If an arbitrator determines that a party unreasonably delayed service of evidence, they may decide to refuse that evidence.
Definition of “Days”
The Rules of Procedure contain a definition for “days”. Whenever you see a calculation of time expressed as a “clear” number of days, or as “at least” or “not less than” a number of days, exclude the first and last days in your calculation. However, if the calculation of time is not expressed in one of those manners, then exclude the first day in your calculation, but still count the last day. For example, if you are scheduled to be the respondent in a dispute resolution hearing on July 25th, your evidence deadline would be July 17th, since the Rules of Procedure say the applicant and RTB must receive your evidence not less than seven days before the hearing.
If the deadline to complete an act related to a dispute resolution hearing falls on a holiday, then the deadline is extended to the next day – even if the act can be carried out online on the day of the holiday. For example, if your deadline to submit evidence falls on a Wednesday, which happens to be Family Day, then you can still submit it through the RTB website the following day. Similarly, if the deadline to complete an act at an RTB office or Service BC office is on a day when the office is closed during regular business hours, the deadline gets extended to the next day the office is open.
Submitting Additional Evidence
The easiest way to add evidence to an application is through the RTB’s Dispute Access Site, using the unique Dispute Access Code that will be provided to you once your application has been accepted. If you are the respondent in the proceedings, this code will be part of the hearing package that the applicant is required to give you.
- TRAC Webpage – Applying for Dispute Resolution
- RTB Dispute Access Site
- RTB Rules of Procedure – Definition of “Days”
- RTB Rules of Procedure Section 3.11 – Unreasonable delay
- RTB Rules of Procedure Section 3.14 – Evidence not submitted at the time of Application for Dispute Resolution
- RTB Rules of Procedure Section 3.15 – Respondent’s evidence provided in single package