Section 9

Claims for Compensation

Sub-Section 9.1

Claims


Legislation


s. 55 (2), 59.1, 154, 155, The Residential Tenancies Act
s. 18, 25 (1), Residential Tenancies Regulation
Residential Tenancies Cost Regulation


Definitions

Claim: a form filed with the Branch by a landlord or tenant, 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.

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

Mediation: a confidential process that the Branch uses to encourage and help claimants and respondents discuss problems, think of possible solutions and reach their own agreements. Mediation can take place in meetings, conference calls or separate telephone conversations.

Mediated agreement: a written document a mediation officer prepares to outline an agreement between a claimant and respondent. Mediated agreements are confidential. They are not a matter of public record.

Order: an order for one person to pay another, generally for rent arrears, damage or cleaning costs.

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

Policy

A tenant or landlord can file a claim against the other for compensation for financial loss. They can also make a claim for costs and for interest on the compensation. A claimant has only up to six years after a problem arises to file a claim.

For a claim to succeed, a claimant must prove, at the very least:

  • that they had a financial loss;
  • that the loss took place during the tenancy;
  • that the respondent is responsible for the loss; and
  • the amount of the loss.

While a landlord or tenant may make a claim, they must be able to show what they did to keep their loss to a minimum. For example: A landlord is claiming loss of rent. They must show what steps they took to re-rent the unit as soon as practicable. Or, a tenant is claiming compensation for damaged belongings because a landlord failed to repair a leaking roof. They must show when they told the landlord of the problem and how they tried to prevent further damage to their belongings.

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If a tenant removes fixtures from the rental unit or other items which belong to a landlord when they move, the landlord may file a claim for compensation against the tenant. While the landlord may also want to file a complaint with the police, they’re not required to do so.

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Compensation for Unreasonable Delay

A tenant who wants to make a claim for compensation for unreasonable delay may file a claim with the Branch. To file a claim, a tenant must pay the Branch a non-refundable filing fee.

Since a tenant may apply for compensation only if the landlord fails to act on a request to repair, the tenant must show that they asked the landlord to comply with the Act or that the landlord was aware that a repair was required. If a tenant makes more than one request for the repair, the tenant should record dates and any other relevant information. The best advice to tenants is to put the request in writing and give it to the landlord, not just the on-site caretaker. If request was made verbally, then the tenant might provide a statement from a witness to the request.

The tenant must also show that the repair is required and that they are not the cause of the problem. Tenants may take photos to show the condition of the rental unit.

A tenant must not contribute to the delay by refusing to allow the landlord reasonable access to the rental unit to complete the repairs.

The tenant must specify a dollar amount that they are seeking for compensation for the delay. The tenant can claim a lump sum or an amount to be set-off against the rent each month until the repair is made.

A tenant may claim compensation for loss of use of part of a rental unit or loss of use of a service or facility that the landlord provides (e.g. appliances, security system, parking, laundry facilities, air conditioning). A tenant may also claim compensation for any additional expenses incurred because of a delay in repairing an item (e.g. increased water bill because of a landlord’s failure to repair a dripping tap or a running toilet).

The tenant must show that the landlord’s failure to repair within a reasonable period of time interfered with their quiet enjoyment of the rental unit/residential complex by preventing them from using the property as it was intended to be used.

In determining the amount by which the value of the tenancy has been reduced, the Branch will consider:

  • the seriousness of the situation;

  • any annoyance, discomfort and inconvenience caused by the delay; tenants will not usually be awarded compensation for temporary discomfort or inconvenience;

  • the degree to which the tenant has been unable to use the premises as it was intended to be used;

  • the length of time over which the situation has existed; a reasonable amount of time will vary depending on the severity of the problem; for example, if the landlord supplies heat and the heat goes off in the middle of winter, a “reasonable” amount of time may be a few hours, but if the cold water faucet is dripping, the “reasonable” time for repair might be considerably longer;

  • whether the delay was caused by matters outside of the landlord's control; for example: if a repair can only be done on a seasonal basis or if there is a problem with contractor availability.

When the Branch awards compensation to a tenant for unreasonable delay, it may also award cost as allowed by the Residential Tenancies Cost Regulation.

When a tenant files a claim for compensation for unreasonable delay, the Branch will ask the tenant if the repairs have been completed. If repairs are still necessary, the Branch will explain its repair procedures to the tenant and open a repair file. The Branch will then follow the procedures set out in Landlord’s Responsibility for Repairs in Section 4.

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If a tenant’s belongings are damaged because a landlord didn’t do repairs, the tenant may file a claim for compensation against the landlord. However, a tenant must be able to show that the landlord knew about the necessary repairs or could have been expected to know there might be a problem.

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The Branch does not have the authority to award compensation for:

  • personal injury or death;
  • pain and suffering or mental anguish;
  • or wages lost while attending a hearing;
  • time required to collect rent; and
  • legal fees.

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When filing a claim, a landlord or tenant must use a "Claim and Notice of Hearing" form the Branch provides. The Branch does not accept claims on any other forms.

To file a claim, a landlord or tenant needs to have an address for the respondent. If a claimant doesn’t have an address and the Branch has a file between the claimant and respondent, the Branch will provide whatever address is on file. There is one exception. If there is a restraining order or a non-molestation order between the claimant and respondent, the Branch won’t release the address.

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The Branch generally holds a hearing before making a decision on a claim. A claimant must give a respondent the Claim and Notice of Hearing form at least five days before the hearing date.

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To file a claim, a claimant must pay the Branch a non-refundable filing fee. There are some exceptions:

  • A landlord doesn’t have to pay a filing fee if their claim is for the security deposit or less.

  • A tenant doesn’t have to pay a filing fee for a claim for moving expenses or additional moving expenses if they receive notice to move under Section 98 or 99 of the Act.

  • A tenant generally doesn’t have to pay a filing fee when they ask the Branch to decide on a claim against a security deposit. A tenant who wants the Branch to make a decision on a security deposit must contact the Branch within two years of the end of the tenancy.
    After two years
    , a tenant must file a claim for compensation and pay the required filing fee.

  • A life lease tenant doesn’t have to pay a filing fee when they ask the Branch to decide on a claim against an entrance fee refund.

If a tenant terminates a tenancy because a landlord hasn’t met their obligations, the tenant may file a claim for compensation against the landlord for their moving expenses. In these cases, the tenant must pay a filing fee. A tenant may claim compensation for:

  • renting a vehicle
  • hiring professional movers;
  • the cost of transferring utility or service connections;
  • the cost of filing a change of address with Canada Post for mail redirection;
  • other reasonable expenses. This may include the cost of gas or the cost of buying food for people who help the tenant move

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A claimant may file a claim at the nearest Branch office. The Branch holds hearings in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson as well as in other judicial centres in the province. The Branch decides where the hearing will be held. This decision is based on the location of the rental unit and the address of the landlord and tenant. The Branch usually schedules a hearing in the judicial centre closest to the rental unit. A claimant may ask to have their hearing outside of the nearest judicial centre. The Branch will accommodate a request for a different location if it appears fair to both the claimant and the respondent.

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Even though a claim form is not completed correctly, the Branch might still make a decision on the claim. A landlord or tenant should not rely on an error or irregularity in the form as a defence to a claim.

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If a respondent wants to reply to a claim, they should attend the hearing or submit a written response to the claim. If a respondent has a claim against a claimant, they may also file a claim. To file a claim, a respondent must pay a non-refundable filing fee. If a respondent files a claim, the Branch usually tries to schedule the hearing on that claim for the same date and time as the original claim.

In some cases, the hearing calendar for the date and time of the original claim might be fully booked. In other cases, the respondent may not file their claim in time to give the claimant the required five days’ notice of the hearing. As a result, the Branch might try to re-schedule the original hearing to a later date and decide both claims at that time. Or, the Branch might deal with the claimant’s claim at one hearing and hold a second hearing to consider the respondent’s claim.

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To prevent several hearings about one tenancy, the Branch encourages a claimant to file one claim for all the losses suffered during or after a tenancy. A claimant can make an estimated claim, as long as they provide specific details of the claim to the Branch and the respondent. For example: A landlord can file a claim for an unpaid water bill and estimate the amount of the final bill. Or, a landlord can file a claim in January and say that they are claiming February’s rent. In either case, the landlord would have to prove their loss at the hearing. If a claim is not specific enough to allow a respondent to prepare a response, the Branch might refuse to accept the claim.

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When filing a claim, a claimant must be as clear and specific as possible about the details of their claim. A claim needs to be clear to:

  • give the respondent the opportunity to know what the claim is so they can respond;

  • give the Branch an opportunity to help the claimant and respondent to settle the claim through mediation; and

  • allow the Branch to proceed with a hearing.

If the Branch feels that a claim is not clear or that the claimant doesn’t have most of the information or evidence necessary to file a claim, it won’t accept the claim for filing.

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Sometimes a claimant may need or want to add items to a claim they filed with the Branch. If the claimant hasn’t served the respondent, the claimant may file an amended claim and then serve the respondent. If the claimant has already served the respondent, the Branch may not allow the claimant to file a second claim. The Branch has the authority not to accept a second claim if it believes the items on the second claim could have been reasonably included in the first claim.

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When making a decision on a claim for compensation, the Branch uses, where appropriate, the guidelines for decision set out in Section 10.

The Branch usually applies the security deposit, if any, to an Order issued after a tenancy ends. If the landlord files a claim 28 days or more after the end of a tenancy, the Branch will deal with the deposit at the claim hearing.

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The Branch has the authority to deal with a claim filed by a collection agent on behalf of a landlord. While a collection agent may represent a landlord at a hearing, the Branch issues the Order in the name of the landlord. The Branch doesn’t have the authority to deal with a claim filed by a third party who "purchased" a tenant’s debt from a landlord. The Branch has the authority to deal with matters arising from the breach of a tenancy agreement between a landlord and tenant. The third party or assignee’s claim is on their own behalf, not on behalf of a landlord. The assignee must file their claim in the Court of Queen’s Bench.



Procedure

Overview

When a landlord or tenant files a claim for compensation, the Branch schedules a hearing. A mediation officer will try to help the parties reach an agreement on the claim. If mediation isn’t successful, the hearing goes ahead as scheduled. A hearing officer reviews all the information, makes a decision and issues an Order.


Steps ▼

1.A tenant or landlord files a claim for compensation and pays the filing fee.

2.The Branch schedules a hearing and gives the claimant a copy of the claim form for their records and an original claim for each respondent. The form includes information on the date and time of the hearing. The claimant must give the respondent notice of the hearing at least five days before the hearing date.

3.If the claimant can’t give the notice of hearing to the respondent, they may apply in writing for substitutional service and/or a new hearing date.

4.Before the hearing, a mediation officer may contact the claimant and respondent to see if they can reach an agreement on the claim.

5.If mediation isn’t successful, the hearing goes ahead as scheduled.


Forms & Form Letters


X-Referencing

For details on mediation, see Section 1.
For information on the Branch’s jurisdiction, see Section 1.
For details about Landlord's Responsibility for Repairs, see Section 4.
For more information on guidelines for decision, see Security Deposits – Guidelines for Decision in Section 10.
For more information on hearings and hearing orders, see Section 11.
For information on costs and interest,see Section 12.


Policy Developed

September, 1992*


Last Revision

June, 2015


Other Resources

None


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