Name suppression in Tribunal orders

Casey asks:
(updated on Tuesday, April 14th 2020)

As a landlord/property manager reviewing the newest proposed changes to the Residential Tenancy Act, the most concerning change to me seem to be the ability of the Tenancy Tribunal to grant name suppression to tenants on Tribunal Orders. Does this not make the entire Tribunal Order system a complete joke if we can't use it to vet potential tenants? It's barely mentioned at all in media yet it seems to me the most concerning change. How do you think this will impact and what are some way people intend to work around this?

Our Experts Answer:

A proposed new Section 95A  would amend the Residential Tenancies Act as follows: “If a party that has wholly or substantially succeeded in the proceedings applies for an order that their name or identifying particulars not be published, the Tribunal must make the order unless the Tribunal considers that publication is in the public interest, or is justified because of the party’s conduct or any other circumstances of the case.”   

Some landlords might be tempted to filter out tenancy applications depending on whether a tenant has been ­involved in a Tribunal dispute. The proposed change is intended not to penalise a tenant (or landlord) who has successfully taken an application to the Tenancy Tribunal. It seems reasonable that a tenant or a landlord should not be flagged as a serial litigator if in fact they were justified in their action because the Tribunal ruled in their favour. 

Using a tenant’s presence at the Tenancy Tribunal in vetting a tenancy application is potentially unjust if the tenant won their case.  That would make a joke of your vetting process.  If, however, the publication of orders is continued where a tenant has been unsuccessful, then there will still be a public record to identify the serial litigators and “bad eggs”.

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