A Monetary order is a legal order issued by an arbitrator following a Residential Tenancy Branch dispute resolution hearing, which requires one party to pay money to another party. A landlord could be issued a monetary order if their tenant has not paid the rent, or a tenant could be issued a monetary order if their landlord has disobeyed the law and the arbitrator decides that they must compensate the tenant.
Monetary orders are legally binding, meaning that the person who is required to pay must follow through with the payment. If you have been issued a monetary order and your landlord refuses to pay, you have the right to enforce the order in Small Claims Court. The Residential Tenancy Branch cannot enforce a monetary order.
First, you need to serve the order on your landlord. When the arbitrator makes their decision, the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) will mail a copy of the decision to both you and your landlord, but will only send the monetary order to the successful party.
The RTB will mail you at least 3 copies of the monetary order:
- One for you to keep
- One for you to file in court (if the landlord refuses to pay)
- One copy for all other parties named in the order.
There are only certain ways that you are allowed to serve your landlord with the monetary order. Depending on the method you choose, there are different timelines for when it will be considered received by the landlord:
- Leaving a copy directly with the landlord – same day
- Leaving a copy with the landlord’s agent – same day
- Attaching it to the door or leaving it in a mail slot at the landlord’s home or address where they conduct business as a landlord – 3 days later
- Faxing it – 3 days later
- Sending it by regular or registered mail to the landlord’s home or address where they conduct business as a landlord – 5 days later
- Any other way that that the RTB has ordered you to serve it
Regardless of the method of service you choose to use, you will need to complete the form Confirmation of Service of Monetary Order for Enforcement in Provincial Court.
See our page on Serving Documents for more information.
When you serve your landlord with the monetary order, you may also want to serve them with a letter demanding payment. This is called a demand letter. Here are some points to consider including in your letter:
- The date
- Your name and address
- Your landlord’s name and address
- A statement that this is a “demand letter”
- The statement “without prejudice” (this means that the letter cannot later be used against you in court)
- A reasonable deadline for when you would like to receive payment
- What method of payment you will accept
- Where the landlord can send the payment if you have already moved out
- A statement that if you do not receive payment by the deadline, you have the right to enforce the monetary order in Small Claims Court.
- Your signature
See TRAC’s template letter, Demand for Payment.
If your landlord does not pay you within the deadline you have provided, you can file the monetary order in Small Claims Court. You need to wait at least 15 days, to give your landlord the option to file for a review of the decision. If the landlord files for a review, you will not be able to file in Small Claims Court until there has been a review decision in your favour. Before going to Small Claims Court, you can call the Residential Tenancy Branch to find out if the landlord has filed for a review.
You can take the monetary order and Confirmation of Service of Monetary Order for Enforcement in Provincial Court form to any court registry. You will need to pay a filing fee of $21.
After filing the order in Small Claims Court, you can make a decision about how you want to try to enforce the order and get the money you are owed. There are several options available for enforcing a monetary order. Below is a very basic list of some of the options available. Before deciding how to enforce your monetary order, you will need to learn more about the procedures involved with each option.
- Request a payment hearing: At a payment hearing you can find out information about your landlord, such as what assets they own and where they bank and work. This may be needed in order to enforce the order through other options.
- Garnishment: Garnishment is way of collecting money that is owed to your landlord. This could include taking your landlord’s wages or money from their bank account. There is a very strict process that must be followed for garnishment.
- Seizure and sale of assets: Another option is to request an order for seizure and sale to hire a court bailiff to seize and sell your landlords belongings. This option can be expensive, and there are limits to what a bailiff can seize.
- Register a certificate of judgment against your landlord’s property at the Land Title Office: You can request a certificate of judgment from the court to register at the Land Title Office. This can be an effective way of getting a landlord to pay because it is unlikely that they will be able to sell or mortgage their property if there is a judgment registered against it.
Here are some good resources with information on enforcing an order in Small Claims Court:
- Demand for Payment
- Confirmation of Service of Monetary Order for Enforcement in Provincial Court form
- The Ministry of Justice- Getting Results
- Small Claims Court Guide #6- Getting Results
- The University of Victoria Law Centre’s fact sheets on the Small Claims process
- Justice Education Society’s Online Help Guide to Small Claims- Collecting on Judgment