The following information is intended as a guide for landlords and tenants participating in a hearing under the Rental of Residential Property Act.
Due to COVID-19, all rental hearings are being held by telephone. Instructions for telephone hearings can be found here.
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What is the purpose of a rental hearing?
The purpose of a rental hearing is to resolve a dispute between a tenant and a landlord. During the hearing, the tenant and the landlord are each given an opportunity to present evidence and to give testimony to a Rental Officer who then writes a decision based on the facts presented in accordance with the law.
Do all parties receive notice of a rental hearing?
Yes, the Rental Office will mail or email the Notice of Hearing to the parties involved. The Notice will state the date and time of the hearing. Due to COVID-19, all rental hearings are being held by telephone. Instructions for telephone hearings can be found here.
Am I required to participate in the hearing?
Yes, you are encouraged to participate in the hearing in order to provide information that will help in the decision process. While you are not required to participate in the hearing, it will proceed in your absence, and if you do not participate you will lose your right to appeal the decision issued from the hearing.
What if I cannot participate in a hearing?
If you are unable to participate in your hearing, contact the Rental Office to request a postponement of the hearing. You can also have someone represent you at a hearing if you are unable to participate or feel more comfortable having someone else speak for you. You can still provide a written statement.
May I have someone else participate with me at the hearing?
Hearings are not public at the Rental Office level. Only parties involved in the matter are permitted to participate in the hearing. However, witnesses are allowed to present evidence or give testimony at a hearing. You can also have someone represent you at a hearing, like a lawyer, although it is not required.
How is a rental hearing conducted?
A hearing is an informal process conducted by a Rental Officer to hear both sides of the rental dispute. A hearing is required when there is a dispute between a landlord and tenant and one of the parties submits an application to resolve the dispute. A Rental Officer will hear the testimony and weigh the evidence submitted by the parties and make a decision.
Parties who give evidence are sworn in or affirmed at the beginning of the hearing. The Rental Officer will begin by asking preliminary questions regarding the application. The party who submitted the application will then provide their testimony and evidence. The other party then gives their evidence and testimony. Each party also has an opportunity to respond to the other’s comments.
A hearing can provide an opportunity for the parties to resolve their differences and reach a mutual agreement. If the parties negotiate an agreement, the Rental Officer may issue an Order stating the details of the mutual agreement.
Is there anything else I can do to help me prepare for a hearing?
In many cases, parties find it helpful to prepare a written summary or statement of the evidence and arguments that they wish to present at the hearing.
How can I support my case at a rental hearing?
In a rental hearing, the Rental Office is acting as an administrative tribunal that must decide the outcome of a rental dispute in accordance with the law. If you are a landlord or tenant, you may submit evidence to the Rental Office to help support your position in the dispute.
The Rental Office, as an administrative tribunal, uses the standard of proof called the balance of probabilities. This means that the Rental Officer will carefully review the relevant evidence submitted by each party to determine whether it is more likely than not that an alleged event occurred.
Tribunals use the same set of standards that courts use in civil proceedings.
This standard is different than the standard used in a criminal case, where it must be proven that an alleged offence occurred “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
How long does a hearing last?
Most hearings last between 20 to 60 minutes depending upon how much evidence is submitted, how many witnesses are called, and the complexity of the issues in dispute.
What if I disagree with the Rental Officer’s decision?
Any party who participates in or was represented at the hearing may appeal the decision to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission within 20 days of receipt of the decision. Information on how to appeal a Rental Order can be found here.
How do I ensure the Rental Order or decision will be enforced?
The party who is granted an Order in their favour, may file the Order with the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island. Once filed, the party may file their Order as a judgment, or file it with Sheriff Services depending on the nature of the Order. For more information on how to file an Order with the Court, please contact the Supreme Court or Sheriff Services to discuss their process, procedure and fees.