Problems can come up between landlords and tenants. Most of the time landlords and tenants can talk to each other and settle problems in a quick and friendly manner - landlords carry out repairs when asked; tenants turn down loud music when asked. By talking over a problem or making suggestions in a letter, the landlord and tenant may be able to avoid a dispute.
Sometimes a landlord and tenant are able to agree on a solution to a problem. For instance, if the landlord does not do regular upkeep on the premises, the tenant might propose doing some of the work for a reduction in rent. A tenant may be able to persuade the landlord to accept a little less than a month's notice of moving out. A landlord might accept a late rent payment from a long-term tenant who generally pays the rent on time. The landlord and tenant can also try to come to an agreement with the help of a third party, such as a mediator.
Sometimes the problems can't be resolved. A tenant may not pay rent and refuse to move out. A landlord and tenant might disagree about who is responsible for repairing a broken window. The tenant may claim that the landlord did not give proper notice of a rent increase. If the tenant and landlord cannot agree, either one can ask the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) to make an order to solve the problem.
Claims, except for security deposits, must be made within 1 year of when the incident occured. The ORT can deal with any type of dispute about the rental agreement. The maximum that can be awarded is currently $30,000. If a party wants to claim more than $30,000 the claim must be heard by the Court of King's Bench.
Before applying for an order, you may wish to search past decisions of the ORT to see if they may provide you with some guidance about how a hearing officer may rule on an issue. You might share links to one or more decisions with the other party as a means of persuading them to settle and avoid the need to go through the hearing process. You can search past decisions here.
There is a process that must be followed to apply for an order from the Office of Residential Tenancies.
At the hearing both the tenant and landlord can tell their side of the story and present evidence.
The Office of Residential Tenancies can make orders about things like rent owing, security deposits, and who has to pay for needed cleaning or repairs.
In some cases you can appeal a decision of the Office of Residential Tenancies.
If the person does not pay you what is owed under order you can enforce it like a judgment. You may also be able to have the police enforce an order to do something like return belongings.
PLEA can provide you with information to help you understand many legal matters you, a family member or friend may be facing.