Tenants > Last Resort Remedies > Apply for a Dispute Resolution Hearing
The Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) is the government office that provides landlords and tenants with information and dispute resolution services. A dispute resolution hearing is a quasi-judicial process for the resolution of disputes between landlords and tenants. Dispute Resolution Officers (DRO) help parties resolve their disputes during a formal hearing, and make a binding decision on the parties. Based on the evidence presented by the landlord and tenant, the DRO makes a decision about the problem, based on an interpretation of the law. DROs are not bound by precedent and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
It is important to recognize that proving a loss of quiet enjoyment based on second-hand smoke infiltrating your home can be difficult. Before applying for a dispute resolution hearing, we recommend that you review the section on quiet enjoyment to understand the challenges you may face in pursuing this option.
If you decide to apply for an RTB hearing to seek compensation for the loss of quiet enjoyment, here is a list of factors that a dispute resolution officer (DRO) may consider when deciding on the merits of your case:
(Refer to Documenting the problem)
1. What was included in the terms of your tenancy agreement or the smoking tenant’s agreement?
2. Have you collected evidence to show that the smoke is causing a significant interference?
3. What effect did the interference of the smoke have on your health?
4. What steps did you take to resolve the problem before applying for compensation?
5. What steps did the landlord take to address the problem once you notified him/her?
Visit the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) website for more information on completing an Application for Dispute Resolution Hearing.
If you are considering filing an application for dispute resolution with the Residential Tenancy Branch due to a breach of quiet enjoyment pursuant to s. 28 of the Residential Tenancy Act, S.B.C. 2002, c. 78 (the “Act”), you will be required to detail the nature of the dispute and request an order to remedy the situation and/or compensate for loss. The most common orders requested are detailed on the Residential Tenancy Branch’s standard form “Tenant’s Application for Dispute Resolution”. In the case of an action for breach of quiet enjoyment a tenant would most commonly seek the following orders:
Pursuant to s.64 of the Act, dispute resolution officers are not bound to follow past decisions and must make each decision based on the merits and evidence of each individual case. Additionally, at present, the Residential Tenancy Branch does not publish past decisions of dispute resolution officers. As a result, it is very difficult to predict the outcome of each individual case or provide examples of how past successful applications have framed their dispute and requested their order. Notwithstanding these difficulties, some possibilities based on known decisions from BC and other jurisdictions include orders for:
The above examples represent the most common orders a tenant may request in an application for dispute resolution for breach of quiet enjoyment due to second hand smoke disturbances. Depending on your specific circumstances however, further orders could be sought. When in doubt we recommend that you consult an appropriate professional or contact the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre for more information on this issue.
Disclaimer – The information contained in this section is of a general nature and is to be used for informational purposes only. This information should not be construed as legal advice. If you are unclear about your rights or responsibilities, we highly recommend that you seek legal advice from an appropriate professional.