If you dispute a notice to end tenancy within the time limit allowed, the Residential Tenancy Branch will set a hearing date for the dispute. The notice to end tenancy will be put on hold until a decision has been made at the hearing. Disputing a notice to end tenancy can be an option to buy yourself more time to move if needed, even if you think you will lose the hearing. However, it can also be stressful to go through a hearing and you may have to pay a $50 application fee.
During the dispute resolution hearing, both you and your landlord will have the opportunity to present evidence. The arbitrator will then make a decision. If you win the hearing, the notice to end tenancy will be set aside (cancelled), and the tenancy will continue. If your landlord wins the hearing, the arbitrator will issue an Order of Possession for your landlord.
You are still required to pay rent for any time that you occupy the unit, even if you have received a notice to end tenancy. Often, dispute resolution hearings are scheduled weeks, or even months, after the date you apply. This means that if you choose to dispute a notice to end tenancy, you may end up living in the unit beyond the effective date of the notice. You will need to continue paying your full rent during this time.
Asking for more time to move
If your landlord wins the hearing you will likely have to move out very soon. Arbitrators often issue orders of possession requiring the tenant to move out in as little as 48 hours after the hearing. During your hearing, you can ask the arbitrator to allow you more time to move out if they end up deciding favour of your landlord. For example, if the hearing date is set for the middle of the month, you may want to ask the arbitrator to issue an Order of Possession for the last day of the month. You can say that your request is not an admission of guilt, but rather, an attempt to plan proactively in the event that your lose your hearing.
Some points to consider when asking for a longer Order of Possession deadline:
- Why will a short move-out deadline cause you hardship? Are you at risk of homelessness? Do you have children or pets, which will make finding a place to stay more difficult?
- Have you already paid for the full month? If so, it may cause minimal hardship to the landlord to have you remain in the rental unit until the end of the month.
Is it likely that the landlord will be able to find a new tenant quickly, or will the unit simply sit empty for awhile? If it is the middle of the month, the landlord may not be able to find a new tenant until the beginning of the next month.
- 10 day notice for non-payment of rent or utilities – 5 days
- One month notice for cause or end of employment – 10 days
- Two month notice for landlord or purchaser use of property – 15 days
- 12 month notice to convert a manufactured home park – 15 days
If the last day to dispute a notice to end tenancy falls on a statutory holiday, the deadline is the following day.
If your landlord wants to evict you, they are required to use an approved form. The notice must:
- Be in writing
- Be signed and dated
- Give the address of the rental unit
- State the effective date of the notice
- State the reason for the notice
- Inform the tenant that they can dispute the notice and provide the contact information for the Residential Tenancy Branch
The “approved” form typically means the standard government form. However, arbitrators do have the ability to decide whether or not to approve other custom forms. A notice that does not contain everything listed above may not be legal.
If you receive an illegal notice to end tenancy, you do not need to move out. However, do not ignore the notice. It is a good idea to respond in writing to the landlord, and explain that the notice they gave you is not legal and you do not accept it.
You can use our template letter – Response to Illegal Eviction Notice.
A notice to end tenancy must always be in writing; it can never be verbal. The notice also needs to be served (given) using one of the allowable methods. Each method has a timeline for when you are considered to have received the notice. This affects the amount of time you have to dispute the notice, because the deadline to dispute begins when you receive the notice, not necessarily when the landlord serves it.
Timeline for receipt of documents
- In person – same day
- Leaving in a mail slot or mail box – 3 days later
- Fax – 3 days later
- Posting on a door or other obvious place – 3 days later
- Registered or regular mail – 5 days later
See our page on Serving Documents for more information.
*Note: email and text message are not allowable methods of service!
If you receive a notice to end tenancy that is in the proper form, but has an incorrect date, the notice is still legal but is not effective until the proper date. For example, if you receive a notice to end tenancy for disturbing your neighbours with an effective date in less than one full month, you are not legally required to move out until one full month from the date you receive the notice. You do not need to move out until the correct date, but it is a good idea to inform your landlord in writing of the mistake.
You can apply for more time to dispute a notice to end tenancy, but this is only awarded in exceptional circumstances. For example, an arbitrator might allow you more time to dispute a notice if you were in the hospital for the entire time from when the notice was served until the deadline to dispute it. You will need to submit evidence with your application, such as a hospital letter.
An arbitrator can never extend a deadline to dispute a notice to end tenancy beyond the effective date of the notice. For example, if you receive a notice stating that you must move out by October 31, and are unable to apply to dispute it until November 1, the arbitrator cannot allow your application, regardless of your reason for not filing on time.
If you have received a 10 day notice to end tenancy for non-payment of rent, you can also apply for an extension of time to pay the rent beyond the 5 day deadline. The only time an arbitrator can give you more time to pay is if you believed you were allowed to deduct rent for emergency repairs or by an arbitrator’s order. If you did not withhold rent for one of these two reasons, the arbitrator can ask the landlord if they consent to allowing you more time to pay the rent, but the landlord does not have to agree.
If you do not dispute a notice to end tenancy by the deadline, you are conclusively presumed to have accepted the notice and will need to move out by the effective date. Your landlord may apply for dispute resolution and request an Order of Possession once the deadline for you to dispute the notice has passed.
The arbitrator may grant an Order of Possession without holding a hearing if the notice to end tenancy was for non-payment of rent, and your landlord provides all required documents (see section on Direct Request for an Order of Possession below). If the arbitrator decides to hold a hearing, your landlord will serve you with notice of the hearing.
An Order of Possession is a legal order issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch granting the landlord possession of the property, and requiring you to move out by a specified date. The Order of Possession can be effective as early as 48 hours after the hearing. You should always be prepared for the possibility of losing the hearing and being required to move out very soon.
Once your landlord has obtained an Order of Possession, they are required to follow the legal process of eviction to enforce it. See our page Landlord was Issued an Order of Possession for more information.
If you have been served with an Order of Possession and need legal help, you can contact the Community Legal Assistance Society.
If your landlord has issued a 10 day notice to end tenancy for non-payment of rent, they may request an Order of Possession without applying for a hearing if the tenant does not dispute the notice. This direct request process is faster, and does not allow the tenant to provide their own evidence. The landlord is allowed to request a monetary order for the unpaid rent with their direct request.
The landlord will need to submit evidence and all required documents with the application for direct request, and serve the tenant with a notice of direct request package. The Residential Tenancy Branch will review the landlord’s evidence and make a decision. The RTB could:
- Grant the landlord an Order of Possession
- Grant the landlord an Order of Possession and a monetary order if rent has still not been paid
- Decide to hold a hearing with both the landlord and tenant if there is not enough information to make a decision
- Dismiss the landlord’s application
If you have been served with a notice of direct request, your landlord could be issued an Order of Possession very quickly.
There are two exceptions to the rules discussed above requiring landlords to give a notice to end tenancy:
- A landlord may apply for an Order of Possession without giving the tenant notice if they believe the tenant has done something so wrong that it is unreasonable or dangerous to wait for a one month notice to end tenancy to be effective. An arbitrator may grant the Order of Possession if the tenant has:
- Seriously disturbed or interfered with another tenant or the landlord
- Seriously jeopardized the health, safety, or rights of another tenant or landlord
- Caused extreme damage to the property or put the property at significant risk
- Engaged in an illegal activity that:
- Has damaged or is likely to damage the property
- Has jeopardized or is likely to jeopardize the safety, security, quiet enjoyment, health, or legal right of another tenant or the landlord.
- If the tenancy is frustrated. See our page Frustrated Tenancy for more information.
- Residential Tenancy Act Section 46 – Landlord’s Notice: Non-Payment of Rent
- Residential Tenancy Act Section 47 – Landlord’s Notice: Cause
- Residential Tenancy Act Section 48 – Landlord’s Notice: End of Employment with Landlord
- Residential Tenancy Act Section 49 – Landlord’s Notice: Landlord’s Uuse of Property
- Residential Tenancy Act Section 49 – Landlord’s Notice: Tenant Cease to Qualify for Rental Unit
- Residential Tenancy Act Section 50 – Tenant May End Tenancy Early
- Residential Tenancy Act Section 51 – Tenant’s Compensation: Section 49 Notice
- Residential Tenancy Act Section 52 – Form and Content of Notice to End Tenancy
- Residential Tenancy Act Section 53 – Incorrect Dates Automatically Changed
- Residential Tenancy Act Part 4 Division 2 – Orders of Possession
- Residential Tenancy Act section 66 – Extending Time Limits to Apply to Dispute a Notice
- Residential Tenancy Act Part 6 Division 2 – How to Give or Serve Documents
- RTB Decision- Tenant Allowed More Time to Dispute Notice to End Tenancy Because Unable to Read Notice
- RTB Decision- Tenant Allowed More Time to Dispute Notice to End Tenancy Because Wife in Hospital
- RTB Decision- Tenant Not Allowed More Time to Dispute a Notice to End Tenancy Because Could Have Applied Online
- 10 Day Notice to End Tenancy for Unpaid Rent or Utilities
- 1 Month Notice to End Tenancy
- 2 Month Notice to End Tenancy
- 12 Month Notice to End Tenancy for Conversion of Manufactured Home Park
- Application for Direct Request
- RTB Policy Guideline #2 – Ending a Tenancy: Good Faith Requirement (for landlord’s use of property)
- RTB Policy Guideline #11 – Amendment and Withdrawal of Notices
- RTB Policy Guideline #12 – Service Provisions
- RTB Policy Guideline #33 – Ending a Manufactured Home Tenancy Agreement– Landlord’s Use of Property
- RTB Policy Guideline #34 – Frustration
- RTB Policy Guideline #36 – Extending a Time Period (to dispute a notice)
- RTB Policy Guideline #38 – Repeated Late Payment of Rent
- Tenant Survival Guide Chapter 8 – Evictions