Evictions - What happens next?

In the last two posts in our eviction series, we talked about the types of eviction notices a tenant might receive and the process of disputing the eviction at the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). Today, we’ll be talking about the steps a tenant can take if they don’t dispute the eviction in the required time limit or if the RTB decides the eviction should go forward. 

What happens next?  

If the landlord can go ahead with the eviction, they get an Order of Possession from the RTB, which will set the date by which the tenant must leave the rental unit. This Order will be served on the tenant. After service, there is a two-day period in which the tenant can apply to the RTB for an Application of Review Consideration. If the tenant files for this review, the eviction is then on hold until the review is decided. This review process is the same as the one we discussed in our previous post; check out the heading What happens if you disagree with the RTB decision for links to helpful resources. 

If you have a patron looking to pursue this review, you can point them toward TRAC’s helpful template letter Review Consideration of Order of Possession, which they can use to let the landlord know they are seeking review.  

What if the tenant doesn’t leave?  

If the tenant doesn’t vacate the rental unit by the date set by the Order of Possession, the landlord can start the process of forcing the tenant out of the unit. They start this process by taking the Order to the Supreme Court to obtain a Writ of Possession. This Writ enforces the eviction and gives the landlord the ability to hire bailiffs and remove the tenant.  

The court forms needed to obtain a Writ of Possession are grouped together into an Information Package available on the Supreme Court BC website in Word Doc format. These forms can be downloaded, filled out, printed, and filed at the Courthouse registry.

All Information Packages can be found here and are a good place to check when looking for court forms for certain legal proceedings, such as adoption, legal name change, or order to waive court fees.

With the Writ of Possession, the landlord can hire a court-approved bailiff and have the tenant removed. The landlord doesn’t need to give advance notice of the Writ of Possession or the eviction enforcement to the tenant. These bailiffs can remove the tenant’s belongings, change the locks, and even physically remove the tenant.  

You can find a list of court-approved bailiffs on the BC government website, as published by the Attorney General. Only the companies on this list can legally enforce an eviction. 

Some things to note: a tenant who stays past the listed move-out date on the eviction notice or Order of Possession (this is called overholding) may end up owing the landlord some money. This could also apply if the landlord has to hire a bailiff to have the tenant removed. It’s also important to note that the bailiffs are the ones responsible for removal of the tenant; the police have no authority to remove the tenant, though the bailiff may ask them to attend an eviction. It’s important to ask the bailiff for identification and the name of the bailiff company and cross-reference this with the Attorney General’s list to make sure that the bailiff company is one with authority to evict a tenant.  See more info on TRAC's Enforcing an Eviction page!

Check out the following pages from the Community Legal Assistance Society to learn more about the Order of Possession, Writ of Possession, and Court Bailiffs: 

The bailiffs are at the door. What can I do?  

Even if the Writ of Possession has been issued and the bailiffs have arrived, the tenant isn’t completely out of options. Tenants in this situation can apply for Judicial Review at the Supreme Court in addition to an interim stay on proceedings to put a hold on the eviction process.  

What is a Judicial review?   

As defined in CLAS’ blog post on Judicial Reviews, a Judicial Review is a process in which a judge reviews a decision made by an administrative decision-maker, such as an arbitrator at a tribunal like the RTB. The review is not a new trial; it’s an examination for fairness, reasonability, and possible mistakes in the original decision. The judge will usually not consider any new evidence or arguments that weren’t included in that initial decision. A judicial review also doesn’t mean the eviction will automatically be overturned, although it can sometimes result in a new hearing at the RTB.  

Check out these other blog posts from CLAS for more information on Judicial Reviews:  

How does a tenant apply for judicial review?  

Tenants can apply for judicial review at the Supreme Civil Court using a petition and supporting affidavits. These court forms are then filed at the Courthouse registry. There are several online resources you can refer patrons to which link to these forms and give some background information that may help patrons with the application process and filling out the forms.  

Does the Judicial Review stop the eviction?  

No, starting a Judicial Review does not automatically halt the eviction. In order to halt the eviction, the tenant will also need to apply for an interim stay at the Supreme Civil Court. This application can be included as part of the Judicial Review and filed with the courthouse registry at the same time. If the tenant doesn’t apply for the interim stay, the eviction can proceed before the Judicial Review is decided.  

Applying for an interim stay does not mean that the judge will grant one. If granted, the stay will usually last until the judicial review is completed.  

Find out more in CLAS's blog post on Stay Applications.

How does a tenant apply for an interim stay?  

CLAS’ Judicial Review Self Help Guide has a step devoted to applying for an interim stay, which includes links to the court forms and completed samples. If the eviction date is less than 2 weeks away or if the bailiffs are at the rental property already, the tenant can apply for an interim stay without notice (meaning that the other party doesn’t need to be notified before the hearing with the judge). This can be done at the same time as the Judicial Review application is made.

Other helpful resources:

Where can I find help?  

CLAS provides legal assistance to low- and modest-income British Columbians with problems in many areas, included housing evictions and judicial reviews. Patrons can fill out their online intake form to apply for help. 

TRAC’s Housing Law Clinic can provide free legal advice and/or representation for those seeking judicial review. More information is available on their website. 

Access Pro Bono offers a variety of services, including the Summary Advice Program which offers free legal advice to low- and modest-income individuals. More information is on their website. 

You can also search Clicklaw HelpMap and PovNet’s Find an Advocate tool to find other programs in your area.  

If your patron is looking for more information or you need help in the moment during a reference interview, please get in touch with CLBC’s reference services! You can refer patrons to our province wide reference services available toll-free at 1-800-665-2570 or through email at librarian@courthouselibrary.ca. Our team at LawMatters are also always help out; feel free to get in touch at lawmatters@courthouselibrary.ca

Other posts in this series:  

Part 1: Evictions – How do they start? 

Part 2: Evictions – How do you dispute them?