Congratulations on your favourable RTB decision! Unfortunately, the RTB cannot help you collect on the Monetary Order you just received. Instead, the Residential Tenancy Act allows an order for financial compensation up to $35,000.00 or the return of personal property to be filed in British Columbia Provincial Court’s Small Claims division (“Small Claims Court”). The Monetary Order can then be enforced like a judgment of that court.
WHAT IS SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
Small Claims Court is a division of the Provincial Court of British Columbia with a monetary jurisdiction of claims up to $35,000.00, plus interest and expenses.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR FILING IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
While the RTB may have sent the Monetary Order to both parties, the Provincial Court registry will require a confirmation from you that it has been served. For this reason, the Monetary Order should be served on the other party, along with a demand letter seeking payment. The demand letter should include the following:
- the date of the letter;
- the method the letter is served;
- a reasonable deadline for payment of the amount owing;
- how payment can be made; and
- your intention to file the Monetary Order in Small Claims Court if payment is not made by the deadline.
It is important to note that the other party has 15 days to apply for an internal review of an RTB decision once they receive it. You will not be permitted to file the Monetary Order in Small Claims Court until this period has lapsed and must contact the RTB to confirm whether the other party has applied for review. If the other party has done so, you must wait until the review is decided.
HOW DO I FILE IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT?
Once the 15-day review period has lapsed, and the deadline for payment set out in the demand letter has passed, you may take the Monetary Order to a Provincial Court registry.
A $21 fee is associated with filing the Monetary Order in Small Claims Court. This fee can be added to the claim and is recoverable as an expense in addition to the principal amount.
The registry will likely ask you to confirm that the other party has been appropriately served with the Monetary Order. If the Monetary Order contains any direction for service, proof of service through a completed Confirmation of Service of Monetary Order for Enforcement in Provincial Court form will be required.
The registry may also make inquiries to determine whether:
- the 15-day review period has lapsed;
- the correct addresses for the parties are provided. These may not be included on the Monetary Order but may be required by the registry for future notification and;
- any other orders have been filed for the same event. For example, if an order for the return of personal property has also been granted, all orders may be filed together for convenience.
Once the above conditions have been satisfied, the Monetary Order will be stamped and given a court file number. You may then use the Provincial Court processes to collect the money you are owed.
While this first article discusses how to file the RTB Monetary Order in Small Claims Court, in part two, we will review mechanisms for enforcement.
MONETARY ORDERS ABOVE THE SMALL CLAIMS LIMIT
Although the monetary jurisdiction of the RTB is also $35,000.00, there are some circumstances in which a tenant may be awarded the equivalent of 12 months’ rent which can be in excess of that amount. If your Monetary Order is for an amount greater than $35,000.00, you may enforce it in the Supreme Court of British Columbia by attaching a certified copy of the award to a requisition in Form 17.2 and filing both documents with the Supreme Court Registry.