The tenant or landlord who brings the claim to the Office of Residential Tenancies (the applicant) is responsible for completing and serving the Hearing Notice on the other party (the respondent).
The Hearing Notice must clearly set out all issues so that the other party can respond. Hearings are usually held in-person, but they can be heard by telephone or other electronic means.
The applicant must prove they have served the Hearing Notice on the other party. This is done by completing a Certificate of Service confirming the method of service used and the date the Hearing Notice was served. Any adult can serve the notice but the same person must also complete and sign the Certificate of Service.
More information on proper service of documents can be obtained from the ORT.
The ORT does not conduct any form of investigation. It is the landlord and tenant’s responsibility to gather their own evidence to support their claim. Each party must provide the other party and the ORT with a copy of any document that they want to use as evidence. This must be done before the hearing.
The landlord may also want to use oral evidence from witnesses, such as caretakers or cleaning crews, who can describe the condition of the rental unit. The hearing officer can question any witness as well as the other party.
Evidence might include things like invoices, photographs, video recordings or other records. For example, a landlord may want to make a claim against a security deposit because the rental place was left unclean or damaged. The landlord must demonstrate the damages, including related costs and that they followed the rules for dealing with the security deposit. One way of proving this is through the checklists that were filled in when the tenant moved in and out. Photographs can also show the condition of the rental unit.
Alternatively, the tenant may defend their right to the security deposit by providing proof of their case, such as witnesses or copies of documents.
Each party will have an opportunity to tell their side of the story and question the other party and their witnesses. It is important to come prepared to present your case. Hearings are your one and only opportunity to present evidence for consideration.
If one of the parties requires help securing a witness or documentary evidence, the ORT can issue a subpoena. Please contact the ORT for more information.