You have a few legal options to challenge an order from the Residential Tenancy Branch. However, these routes involve a lot of paperwork, time, and money, so you should consider whether those routes are worth the cost or if it is better to spend your time finding a new place to live. Following an order of possession, one thing you can do is try to negotiate with your landlord for more time to move out. Your landlord may agree that you can stay in the rental unit for a certain amount of time after the eviction date on the order of possession if you agree to move out voluntarily.
There are a lot of benefits to negotiation for you and your landlord:
- Certainty—by negotiating with your landlord you can set a definite move out date, which will give you adequate time to find a new place and will assist you in planning and preparing your things for the move.
- Cost and time—by negotiating, you and your landlord save the cost and time of further legal challenges. Your landlord would also avoid the cost that comes with forcibly removing a tenant (e.g. hiring court bailiffs) which may make them more open to giving you extra time.
- Wrapping up the relationship—further legal challenges can be stressful and emotionally draining, by negotiating with your landlord you can end the relationship civilly and have greater peace of mind going forward. This can also be helpful if you want to have a reference from this landlord in future.
There a few end of tenancy things that you can discuss with your landlord:
- More time—as mentioned above, you and your landlord can agree upon a move out date that is later than the eviction date on the order of possession. This gives you certainty and preparation time to find a new rental. It also gives your landlord certainty and allows them to avoid the cost and hassle of forcibly removing a tenant.
- Security deposit—unless it was awarded to your landlord through the Residential Tenancy Brach decision to cover damages, your landlord cannot simply decide that they are going to keep your deposit. You and your landlord can discuss using a portion of your deposit to cover extra time in the unit. If not, you should reiterate that you expect your security deposit returned and provide a forwarding address to them.
- Moving costs—it is in your landlord’s interest to know that you will vacate the unit voluntarily by a certain time. To ensure a smooth transition, you can see if they are willing to help cover moving expenses (e.g. a month at a storage facility for your possessions, packing supplies, or moving car).
Things to keep in mind when negotiating with your landlord:
- Consider what outcome you want from the discussion—ask yourself what you truly want going forward. Perhaps moving on is better than fighting for a rental where you are in constant conflict with your landlord, and what would make your move easier is help covering expenses.
- Explain why it will take time to move—things like young children, personal, or family member disabilities and a tough rental market might be making it difficult for you to move. Mentioning these genuine issues to your landlord might make them more open to giving you extra time.
- Demonstrating efforts to move—this includes things like hiring movers and starting to pack. Showing that you are trying may make your landlord more flexible and open to assisting.
- Think about this from your landlord’s point of view—think about what your landlord is looking for and how a negotiated outcome can address some of their interests. Reverting back to old disagreements is unproductive and will only close you both off to further discussion. Instead, consider their interests. Are they looking for you to leave with a minimum of fuss? Do they want to get some money from you for outstanding rent? Are they looking for the place to be well cleaned? Do they need you out by a certain day? How can they be sure that you will leave when you agree to leave and that they won’t just have to hire a bailiff anyways?
Finally, you and your landlord should write down and sign any agreement you reach. If they aren’t willing to sign something, you can send each other an email outlining the terms you agreed to after your discussion.
For more information about negotiation, visit AdminLawBC.ca to learn about how you can prepare for a tough talk.
Please note that negotiation with your landlord is not a substitute for judicial review and does not stop your deadline for judicial review. If you want to keep the option of judicial review open, you are still responsible for meeting the deadline for filing a judicial review.