The CLAS Community Law Program will be closed from December 22, 2018 to January 2, 2019. During this time, we will not be answering calls. If you are a tenant and your landlord is evicting you over the holidays, here are some things you should know:
Review at the RTB
If you have received a decision or order of possession for your rental unit from the Residential Tenancy Branch ("RTB"), you have the right to file for an internal review. The deadline for filing for review can be as little as two days after you have received the decision or order of possession. Please note that the grounds for review are narrow. To be successful, you must prove one of the following grounds:
- You were unable to attend the original hearing because of circumstances that could not be anticipated and were beyond your control;
- You have new and relevant evidence that was not available at the time of the original hearing; or
- You have evidence that the RTB’s decision or order was obtained by fraud.
If you decide to apply for review at the RTB, tell your landlord immediately that you have done so and that s/he must wait until after the review is decided before applying for a writ of possession. Please see our Review Consideration page for more information about this process.
Judicial Review at BC Supreme Court
If your case does not meet one of the three grounds for review at the RTB or if your review has been unsuccessful, you can apply for judicial review. The deadline for applying for judicial review is 60 days from the date of the RTB’s decision.
If your landlord intends to evict you, you will also have to apply for a stay of the order of possession pending the determination of your judicial review. Only a stay will prevent your landlord from evicting you. Please refer to this self help guide for further information about applying for judicial review and a stay.
If you require further assistance, you can contact one of the Justice Access Centres in Vancouver, Victoria, or Nanaimo. Please contact them directly for their official holiday closures.
The BC Supreme Court Registry will be closed December 25 and 26, and January 1. Although the BC Supreme Court Registry will be open over the holidays, many courts are not open between December 24 and January 8. That means you will be able to file your court documents, but you may not be able to appear in front of a judge to ask for a stay.
If your landlord has served you with an order of possession and you believe they will evict you before the court resumes its regular schedule on January 7, 2019, you may be able to obtain a stay on an emergency basis. Contact the Court Registry for more information. On weekends and holidays you must contact the on-call Deputy District Registrar. You can find more information here: Emergency After-Hours Applications in Vancouver
Eviction by Court Bailiff
In order to evict a tenant, a landlord must obtain an order of possession from the RTB, file that order with the BC Supreme Court and obtain a writ of possession, and hire a court bailiff to execute the writ. Landlords are not permitted to change the locks or hire anyone other than a court bailiff to evict a tenant. Here is the list of authorized court bailiffs.
Because court closures make it difficult to obtain a stay of an order of possession over the holidays, you may have more success negotiating a resolution with your landlord. Keep in mind that landlords are often interested in avoiding the cost of hiring a bailiff and may agree to give a tenant more time to move provided they agree to move out voluntarily and continue to pay rent in the meantime. See our page on negotiation.
The Community Law Program will reopen on January 2, 2019. Regular intake procedures will resume at that time.