Government of Nova
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Access Nova Scotia
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Investigation and Mediation

  1. Investigation and Mediation
  2. Hearings
  3. Decisions
  4. When you disagree with the outcome of your hearing

Investigation and Mediation

Your Application will be assigned to a Residential Tenancies Officer. The officer's name and contact information will be on the application form when it is completed by the staff member. The officer will investigate and attempt to mediate.

Investigation is the gathering of information, statements and evidence through telephone calls, interviews, and inspections. The officer carefully examines all the details of the complaint, reviews evidence and information provided by the applicant when filing the application, and reviews any further information provided by the applicant or the respondent.

Mediation is a confidential process through which the Residential Tenancy Officer will encourage and assist tenants and landlords to discuss their problems. The goal of this process is to find possible solutions to those problems.

Mediation can take place at meetings, during conference calls, or during separate telephone conversations. The officer/mediator is a neutral third party in these discussions. The officer does not take sides or pass judgment, but rather helps tenants and landlords reach their own agreement.

A mediator:

  • focuses on helping the landlord and tenant solve the problem
  • oversees the discussion, identify the common ground, and help the landlord and tenant look at possible solutions
  • makes sure the agreement is allowed under the Act
  • keeps discussion going

A mediator doesn't:

  • decide who is right or wrong during mediation
  • solve the problem
  • offer legal advice
  • judge guilt or innocence during mediation
  • take sides

If mediation is not successful, the officer will hear the matter and make an Order of the Director.

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The applicant and respondent attend the hearing at the time scheduled on the papers given to the applicant at the Access Centre. They must present all their information to the officer. The hearing proceeds as follows:

  • The parties presenting information will be sworn in. All testimony is taken under oath, or is affirmed Should we define oath/affirmed or link to them in glossary?
  • The person who filed the application will normally present first.
  • The respondent will be given the opportunity to ask questions regarding the applicant's information.
  • The respondent then presents evidence.
  • The applicant is given the opportunity to ask questions regarding the respondent's information.

Bring any evidence you have with you to the hearing.

Evidence can be copies of leases, receipts, written estimates, statements, sworn statements, a person or witness giving oral testimony at the hearing, or photographs that relate to the premises in question. Video evidence is accepted, but equipment to view the tapes must be supplied by the party presenting the evidence.

The Officer will maintain control during the proceeding. You should direct all information and questions to the Officer.  You should not speak directly to the other party.

If only one of the parties comes to the hearing:

If the applicant does not attend the hearing or send someone to attend for them, the Residential Tenancies Officer will dismiss the application as the party filing the application did not attend the hearing.

If only the applicant comes to the hearing, the Officer will check to make sure the respondent has been served with a copy of the application to director. If the respondent has been served and does not attend the hearing or have someone attend for them, the officer will continue with the hearing and hear the evidence presented by the applicant.

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The officer who hears the application to director will prepare an Order of the Director (decision) based on evidence presented at the hearing. The officer usually has the Order of the Director ready within seven days of the date of the hearing, but has up to 14 days to complete it.

At the end of the hearing, the officer will tell the parties present when the Order of the Director will be available for pick up. If a party to the hearing does not pick up a copy of the Order of the Director, one will be mailed.

IMPORTANT: The time limit to appeal the decision is 10 days from the signing date so you may want to come in to pick up the decision.

If no appeal is filed within the 10 days from the signing date of the Order of the Director, either party can request that the Order of the Director be made a court order. The officer will endorse the Order of the Director and send it to the Small Claims Court. It then becomes an order of the Small Claims Court. A copy of the order will be sent by mail from the Court to both parties.

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When you disagree with the outcome of your hearing

If you disagree with the Officer's decision, you can file an appeal to the Small Claims Court. You must file an appeal within 10 days of the signing date on the Order of the Director.

File your appeal in the Small Claims Court that serves your area. You will be required to personally serve the other party, and the Director of Residential Tenancies. You will be asked to swear out an affidavit that you have done so.

Fees for filing at Small Claims Court range from $29.70 to $179.35, depending on the value of the original application and/or the type of issue involved. More information on Small Claims Court is available on the Department of Justice website.

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