Changes in RTO Regulations
One of the biggest frustrations facing landlords has been the process surrounding eviction a tenant for unpaid rent. In the past, it has been difficult to get an order of possession, with the process held back by a lack of staff in the Residential Tenancy Branch, and burdened with an unwieldy process. Even if all the paperwork was in order, it was typical for hearings to be delayed four to six weeks, placing a heavy financial burden on the landlord.
That changed on January 19th with the successful completion of a two year long education and lobbying effort by the BC Apartment Owners and Managers Association (BCAOMA) to address the issue.
Although the change required no alteration to the legislation governing the Residential Tenancy Act, it radically alters the timing and efficiency of receiving an order of possession.
The change is called the Direct Request Process. Under the Direct Request Process, the landlord files for an order of possession and submits a copy of the tenancy agreement, a copy of this notice, and an application for Dispute Resolution. These documents can be hand delivered, mailed, or faxed to the Tenancy Office. Once received, a Dispute Resolution Officer will review all documentation and will make an immediate and binding decision with all of the proceedings occur without either party attending. If they find in favor of the landlord, they can issue an order of possession the same day.
Marg Gordon, the CEO of the BCAOMA, said ?the Direct Resolution Process shows how the power of an organized group of professional landlord and managers can make real positive change. By having a more efficient system in dealing with late payment of rent we?ve given the owner a powerful tool to increase on-time payment.?
In developing the program, the BCAOMA worked closely with the RTO in a test of the Direct Request Program. In November of 2008, a select group of landlords was chosen to participate in a trial of the new methodology. Fifty tenants that had not paid their rent were given the new form with an explanation of the changes of the system. Of those fifty tenants, forty nine paid their rent, with only one tenant being evicted. Gordon explained ?that it was through listening to our members, and working for them with the RTO that we were able to run the test program and prove to the provincial authority that positive change was needed.?
The BCAOMA provides resources and information for Apartment Owners and Managers across BC. More information on the BCAOMA and how to join can be found on their website at www.bcaoma.com. To find the new form, go to www.rto.gov.bc.ca/documents/RTB-30.pdf.