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Q: First off, I think this advice column is excellent! There isn't any other place on the web like it! You're doing a wonderful job and there are many of us who greatly apprecite it. My question is this: are landlords required to use only Residential Tenancy Branch forms or can a landlord draw up his own form? In particular, I'm wondering about rent increases and notices to end a tenancy. Thanks.
A: For things like rent increases government issue forms are a must, while in other areas home office generated forms are acceptable. So it depends on the issue, really. I advise people to use the government forms because, if there is a chance you could be headed for arbitration, it is easier for the Arbitrator. Arbitrators hear anywhere up to 6- 7 cases a day, and they are familiar with government issue forms. They know where to look for information; they become confused when critical information isn't easily located. One of your objectives as a party to the dispute should be to make the job easier for the Arbitrator; show him how simple it really is and make it easy for him to find in your favor. When parties complicate things by manufacturing their own forms, and which usually contain all sorts of terms and conditions that aren't enforceable and/or aren't relative, it makes it just that much harder for an Arbitrator. Making things hard for the Arbitrator isn't the best way to approach the dispute resolution process - so use the government issue forms whenever possible.


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