USING THE RENTAL HOUSING TRIBUNAL TO RESOLVE DISPUTES
Though many have never even heard of it, there is a free portal of advice that landlords and tenants can use to resolve disputes without incurring massive legal fees. In these instances, both parties may seek free council from the Rental Housing Tribunal (RHT): an organisation that exists to resolve disputes.
What is the Rental Housing Tribunal?
The RHT implements the Rental Housing Act and assists with resolving disputes such as verbal or written lease agreement disputes, rights and duties, deposit refunds, rental defaults, property damage, utilities, eviction etc. RHT members have been appointed by the Provincial Minister of Housing and must have experience with housing management, development, and rental housing.
Who can use the Rental Housing Tribunal?
Anyone who has a vested interest in a rental property may lodge a complaint with the RHT. The service that the RHT provides is free to landlords and tenants, and each party may represent themselves in the matter, so there’s no need for you to worry about any legal costs.
How does the RTH resolve disputes?
The RHT will inform landlords and tenants of both their rights and obligations regarding the Rental Housing Act and will then investigate and mediate the situation at hand to resolve it by making recommendations to the relevant parties.
Lodging a complaint with the RHT:
Step 1: Contact the relevant RHT office that has authority in the area your rental is situated. According to legislation, your complaint must be in writing. Each provincial office has different forms on which the complaints are to be lodged and can be lodged by registered mail or fax. Once you’ve submitted your complaint, you should follow-up to ensure it’s reached the right person.
Step 2: Once a case is opened, a reference number will be allocated to the matter before a preliminary investigation is conducted. Within 30 days of receiving the complaint, the investigation must determine whether the complaint relates to unfair practice or not. To define this, the RHT may require additional information from either the complainant or respondent. In certain instances, an inspector may be appointed to inspect the property in question and compile a report on the complaint.
Step 3: If it’s deemed unfair practice, all parties are informed in writing that the case is open and the date and time for mediation are presented to them. A mediation is an informal, confidential meeting where both parties meet to discuss their issues in the presence of a trained, experienced mediator. The mediator remains impartial and assists the parties to come to a mutually acceptable solution. However, the landlord and tenant will be the ones who make the final decision. Once the parties have reached an agreement, it’s possible for the agreement to be made an order of the court. If no agreement is reached at the informal mediation, the matter will be referred to a formal hearing for the ruling.
Seek free professional advice
The RHT can be incredibly helpful to resolve disputes without the massive legal fees which can put further strain on your pockets. If you’re seeking more free advice on rental issues, reach out to your nearest RE/MAX rental agent who will gladly assist you with any of your questions or concerns.