Section 11 

Hearings/Hearing Orders

Sub-Section 11.2

Hearings - Serving Notice of A Hearing


s. 184, The Residential Tenancies Act
s. 19, Residential Tenancies Regulation


Claim: a form filed with the Branch by a landlord, tenant or co-signer, asking the Branch to decide if the person who filed the claim is entitled to money from the person they filed against.

Claimant: a landlord, tenant or co-signer who makes a claim against another.

Commissioner for Oaths: a person appointed by the Provincial Government who can take statements under oath and receive solemn declarations.

Co-signer: a person who signs a tenancy agreement along with the tenant and agrees to be responsible for the obligations of the tenant. For example: the obligation to pay rent or to pay for damages.

Declaration of Service: a form signed by the person who served the claim. It shows how and when the respondent was given notice that a hearing would take place.

Guarantor: a person who signs an agreement and attempts to guarantee that a tenant will meet the specific obligation set out in the guarantee. For example: to be responsible for payment of the rent.

Hearing: a meeting where a claimant and respondent present information about their case to an officer to have their claim, application or question decided.

Respondent: a landlord, tenant or tenant’s co-signer or guarantor against whom a claim is made.

Substitutional service: an alternate way for the claimant to give a respondent notice of a hearing, when service attempts fail. The claimant must apply to the Branch for approval of substitutional service.


When a claimant files a claim or application, they must give the respondent notice of the hearing.


The claimant must give the respondent the Application for an Order of Possession  or  Claim  and  Notice  of  Hearing  form at  least  five  full days
before the hearing. When counting days, a claimant can include the day they serve the notice or the day of the hearing, but not both.  For example: A hearing is scheduled for May 8. Counting 5 days backward from the date of the hearing (7, 6, 5, 4, 3), the claimant must serve the respondent on or before May 3.


When a claimant files a claim against more than one person, each person is entitled to receive a copy of the claim. This includes claims filed against married couples. If the respondents live at the same address, the claimant may hand the claims to one respondent or to someone who appears to be an adult at the respondents’ residence.


When a landlord files a claim or applies for an Order of Possession, they may:

  • hand the documentation to the tenant in person at the tenant’s home, place of business or workplace or other public place;

  • hand the documentation to someone who appears to be an adult at the tenant’s home; or

  • send the documentation by registered mail to the tenant’s home address.

When a landlord sends an application for an Order of Possession by registered mail, they must ensure that the tenant receives the documentation and signs for it at least five days before the hearing.  Since a landlord cannot always be reasonably sure if and when a tenant receives a notice of hearing sent by registered mail, the Branch encourages the landlord to try serving the tenant in person or by giving it to someone who appears to be an adult at the tenant’s home address.  Notices of termination must be delivered to the tenant in person or handed to an adult at the rental unit. (See sub-section 7.4)

A landlord may name other people, such as co-signers or guarantors, in the claim or application.  The same rules of service apply to all parties named on a claim or application.


When a tenant files a claim, they may:

  • hand the claim to the landlord in person at the landlord’s home, place of business or workplace or other public place;
  • hand the claim to an employee or agent of the landlord at the address for service the landlord provided; or
  • send the claim by registered mail to the landlord’s home.


Occasionally, when a landlord or tenant tries to hand a claim or application to another person, the other person refuses to accept the document.  If this happens, the person serving the document should ask for the name of the person refusing service and ask if the person is at least 18 years old.  If the person is at least 18 years old or appears to be 18 years old, the server can then drop the document at the person's feet and indicate that the document is a claim/application filed against "name of the respondent" with the Residential Tenancies Branch.

In some cases, the person being served may look through a window and then refuse to open the door to allow service.  In these situations, if it is obvious that the person refusing service is at least 18 years old, the person serving the document can state that they have a claim/application that was filed with the Branch and then slide the document under the door.  If it is not possible to slide the document under the door, the server should somehow attach the document to the door.

A claimant must give the Branch a declaration of service before the hearing to show when and how the respondent received the claim. The person who served the claim must sign the declaration in front of a Commissioner for Oaths. To speed up the hearing process, the Branch encourages a claimant to have the declaration signed and witnessed before coming to the Branch for a hearing.

A claimant must complete a separate declaration for each respondent.

The Branch needs an original declaration of service before issuing an Order. There is one exception to this policy. If the Branch reschedules a hearing and sends the parties notice of the new hearing date, the claimant is not required to submit a declaration of service.


When a claimant sends a claim by Registered Mail along with the declaration of service. The claimant can get a certificate by logging on to the Canada Post web site and entering the item number shown on their receipt.

The certificate shows the date the respondent received the mail and who signed for it. If someone other than the respondent signs for mail sent to their home address, the claimant:

  • must give the Branch their receipt to confirm that they addressed the claim to the respondent;
  • may need to give the Branch some evidence of the relationship between the person who signed for the mail and the respondent.  For example: spouse, parent.

The Branch must be reasonably sure that the respondent received notice of the hearing. If the Branch is not satisfied, it won’t proceed with the hearing.


In some cases, a claimant may want to file a claim against someone who is in jail. If the claimant knows where the respondent is being held, they can call the facility to find out when and how they can serve the claim.


The Branch can only issue an Order or decision against individuals shown to have received notice of the hearing.


Occasionally, after the Branch issues a decision, a respondent will say the claimant did not give them notice of the hearing. The Branch provides the respondent with a copy of the declaration of service. The respondent may contact the Residential Tenancies Commission about an appeal.



At the beginning of a hearing, a hearing officer uses the guidelines in this policy to ensure that a claimant gave a respondent the required notice of a hearing.

Steps ▼   

1.   If the claimant did give the respondent the required notice of the hearing, the officer follows the procedures set out in Hearings –General Information.

2.   If the claimant did not give the required notice, the officer helps the claimant to reschedule the hearing. If the claimant was unable to serve the respondent, the officer may follow the procedures under Substitutional Service.



Forms & Form Letters




For more details on hearings, see this section under:

Also see Order of Possession in Section 8 and Claims in Section 9.



Policy Developed

September, 1992

Last Revision

Augsut, 2015


Other Resources





Return to the Guidebook Table of Contents

The contents of this page are subject to this standard warning note