Advocacy is sometimes a long game. For years LandlordBC has pushed for more oversight of the Residential Tenancy Branch’s (RTB) Dispute Resolution hearings through the recording of hearings. These efforts go back to our initial involvement as part of the RTB’s stakeholder group and continued through to the government’s 2018 Rental Housing Task Force
In December of 2018 the Rental Housing Task Force released its final report with 23 recommendations. Recommendation 13 was to improve the fairness and consistency of the RTB’s dispute resolution hearings process by recording all hearings. LandlordBC immediately set to work to support the RTB in their efforts to develop the necessary policy, investigate technology solutions, and general logistics.
LandlordBC’s aim at pushing for the recording of all of the approximately 1300 hearings the RTB processes a month was to ensure rental housing providers and tenants alike could have reasonable confidence that their dispute would be handled in a fair manner, and in the rare case where an issue did occur that there would be proof. To that aim LandlordBC ensured that this initiative remained a priority with the RTB throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and we supported the RTB’s move to take action on it as soon as their resources allowed.
The purpose of these recordings will be for the RTB’s quality assurance and training purposes. All privacy, security, and legal recommendations have been followed in the implementation of this new program. Landlords and tenants will be able to access their recordings via a password protected and encrypted link. It is important to note that landlords and tenants that are party to a dispute hearing are still prohibited from making their own recording.
Landlords and tenants wishing to request a copy of a recording of a hearing will need to follow these steps:
– Complete and sign RTB Form 54
– Email completed and signed form to [email protected]
– Be sure to include in the email’s Subject line: “Request for a Hearing Recording – RTB File #”
– RTB will review the form and send back an encrypted file with instructions to access the recording
Recording of hearings began on April 25, 2022 and recordings are not released until 20 days after the final decision has been issued. The recordings are provided free of charge but are subject to some terms and conditions including the prohibition against modifying, publishing or any unauthorized sharing of the recording. It is important to note that these rules are enforced by the RTB’s Compliance and Enforcement Unit.
This is a new initiative for the RTB and one that LandlordBC has and will continue to fully support. Part of that continued support is to provide feedback on this initiative’s efficacy and suggest improvements to ensure the goal, shared by both the RTB and LandlordBC, of fair and consistent decisions through the Dispute Resolution process is met.
More information can be found here. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022AG0077-000780