The Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) has the power to issue monetary orders, but they cannot enforce these orders. If your landlord refuses to pay, you will have to go to Small Claims Court to claim your money.
STEP 1 – SERVE THE ORDER
Once you have received your monetary order from the RTB, serve your landlord with:
- a copy of the order; and
- a demand letter with the following information:
- the date;
- your name and address;
- your landlord’s name and address;
- a statement that the letter is a “demand letter”;
- a reasonable deadline for the payment;
- the method(s) of payment you will accept;
- where your landlord can send payment;
- your intention to file in Small Claims Court if you do not receive payment; and
- your signature;
See TRAC’s template letter, Demand for Payment.
STEP 2 – WAIT FOR THE RTB REVIEW PERIOD TO END
Before filing your monetary order in Small Claims Court, you must wait 15 days to see if your landlord submits an Application for Review Consideration at the RTB. Once 15 days have passed, call the RTB to confirm whether or not an application has been made. If your landlord applies for a review, you will not be able to file in Small Claims Court until there has been a review decision made in your favour.
Counting down the 15 day deadline can be more complicated than it appears. According to section 90 of the RTA, the way you serve a document can affect when it is considered received. See TRAC’s webpage, Serving Documents, for more information.
STEP 3 – FILE WITH SMALL CLAIMS COURT
If your landlord refuses to pay, take your monetary order and RTB form “Confirmation of Service of Monetary Order for Enforcement in Provincial Court” to a nearby court registry. The current filing fee is $21 but can be added to your claim. A Small Claims Court judge can help you obtain the money you are owed by using any of the following approaches:
- Payment hearing: Request a payment hearing to gather more information about your landlord’s financial situation. The judge may order your landlord to pay immediately, or they may order them to follow a payment schedule. For example, your landlord may be required to pay you $100 on the 1st of each month until their debt has been satisfied.
- Garnishment: Ask the court for the right to receive money from a source that owes your landlord. For example, you might be able to receive the money you are owed through your landlord’s bank or employer.
- Seizure and sale of assets: Ask for permission to have a court bailiff take your landlord’s personal possessions and sell them in order to pay you back.
- Registration against land: Request that a court registrar issue you a certificate of judgment that can be filed at the land title office. This could prevent your landlord from selling or mortgaging land that they own until they clear their debt with you.
TRAC’s website covers only the basics on this complicated topic. For more detailed information, see the BC Government’s guide, Small Claims – Getting Results.