VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Government has announced that renters and landlords will get more efficient service through the Residential Tenancy Branch.

Through government investments and innovations, the Province says it will make it easier to apply for dispute resolution online and shortening wait times for both hearings and information.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Selina Robinson, says it is important for renters and landlords to have better support.

“As we continue to update our tenancy laws to better protect people, we know it is important to ensure that the RTB has the resources to support renters and landlords. A lack of investment under the previous government led to long wait times and made it hard for landlords and renters to access the services they needed. While we continue to work to improve access, we are seeing clearly our government’s investments have led to significant improvements that mean people in B.C. will have easier access to help for their rental housing concerns.”

To assist with reducing wait times, the B.C. government increased the RTB’s operating budget in September 2017. Since then, RTB hired 15 new information services staff and 10 new dispute resolution experts.

The Ministry says an increase in staffing has had positive impacts on service delivery, with notable improvements in wait times over the previous year.

In addition to hiring more staff, the RTB has begun modernizing the way it does business by releasing an online, intuitive application for dispute resolution known as the service portal.

The service portal guides applicants through the application process and is continuously updated to help ensure applicants provide the right information, offers digital evidence uploading and includes online payment or a fee-waiver process for those who qualify.

Online applications have nearly doubled since the new system was introduced and are steady at over 75%.

According to the Ministry, applications submitted online are generally processed faster and include better-supporting information.

The RTB has also hired a new director of compliance and enforcement. The compliance and enforcement unit will hire three more staff and be fully operational in early 2019. The unit will oversee the investigation of cases of serious, repeat and deliberate non-compliance with tenancy laws and will have authority to levy monetary penalties.

For more information on the changes, you can visit the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s website