When preparing for a dispute resolution hearing, your goal should be to gather and submit enough evidence to convince an arbitrator, on a balance of probabilities, to rule in your favour. The Residential Tenancy Branch considers quality evidence to be relevant, organized, clear, legible, authentic, and complete.
- Relevant. Submit enough evidence to prove your claims, without overwhelming the arbitrator with irrelevant or redundant details. Avoid submitting 12 photos when two will suffice.
- Organized. Evidence should be easily identifiable and searchable. Consider combining all your documentary evidence into a single PDF with numbered pages and an index. Your evidence should also be consistently labelled, such as “Bed bug photo 1” and “Bed bug photo 2”.
- Clear. There should be no debate about the evidence you submitted. The opposing party and RTB should receive identical copies of your evidence package.
- Legible. The arbitrator and opposing party should be able to easily decipher your evidence. Do not submit text documents that are unreadable, or photos that are blurry beyond recognition.
- Authentic. Be honest about the evidence you submit. Do not alter anything in an attempt to mislead the opposing party or arbitrator.
- Complete. Evidence must be a fair and accurate representation of the events depicted on it. An arbitrator may reject evidence if the video quality is poor, parts of an audio recording are missing, or the source is not credible.
Parties can submit digital evidence using the following formats:
- USB Device / Memory Stick
- Compact Disk (CD)
- Digital Video Disk (DVD)
If you wish to rely on digital evidence at a hearing, you must confirm that the opposing party can access it. Once you have contacted the opposing party, they must reply with an answer as soon as possible.
When relying on digital evidence, you must also submit RTB Form, Digital Evidence Details, which will ensure that you include the following required information:
- a description of the evidence;
- identification of photographs, such as a logical numbering system;
- a description of the contents of each digital file;
- a time code for the key point in each audio or video recording; and
- a statement as to the significance of each digital file.
- TRAC Webpage – Preparing for a Hearing
- RTB Rules of Procedure – Definition of “Relevant”
- RTB Rules of Procedure Rule 3.6 – Evidence must be relevant
- RTB Rules of Procedure Rule 3.7 – Evidence must be organized, clear and legible
- RTB Rules of Procedure Rule 3.10 – Digital Evidence
- RTB Webpage – Preparing Evidence
- RTB Webpage – Submitting Evidence
- RTB Form – Digital Evidence Details