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B.C. amends rules so landlords, tenants can exchange docs via email

The change is now permanent as of March 1
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A for rent sign. (via Contributed)

B.C. is updating its rules for landlords and tenants to get into the modern age.

The province is amending regulations to allow email as a method of service between landlords and tenants with the goal of making the dispute-resolution process easier.

The change will take effect March 1, fulfilling a recommendation by the Rental Housing Task Force.

“The task force heard from renters and rental housing providers that there is a desire to use modern forms of communication, such as email, as an acceptable form of notification,” said a news release.

With this change, landlords and tenants may serve documents via email if one provides their email address to the other for this purpose. Previously, they were required to exchange physical documents by personal service, by regular or registered mail, leaving a copy with an adult person, leaving a copy in a mailbox, posting to a door or by fax.

“While electronic service methods, such as email, have not been permitted, arbitrators have accepted them in situations where other methods were not possible,” said the news release. “As a result, they have been accepting service by email with supporting evidence without issue for several years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when personal service was not available to landlords and tenants, the director of the Residential Tenancy Branch issued an order allowing them to serve documents by email. With this regulatory change, email service will be available to landlords and tenants permanently.”