3. Challenge your landlord’s evidence and present your own
Question & AnswerWhat happens at an eviction hearing?
After the opening statements, the Board member should ask your landlord to present their evidence first.
Evidence includes what witnesses say, and any documents, photos or recordings that help one side prove their case. Documents can include receipts, inspection reports, photos, or emails between you and your landlord.
Before a document, photo, or recording can be used as evidence at a hearing, someone has to tell the Board member who made it and what it is. This can be you, your landlord, or another witness. If the Board accepts it as evidence, it is called an “exhibit” and it becomes part of the official record of the hearing.
Before a witness gives evidence, they must swear, affirm, or promise to tell the truth.
Your landlord or their lawyer will ask each of their witnesses questions. This is called “examination-in-chief” or “”. The questions must not tell the witness what the questioner wants them to say. These questions often start with who, what, where, when, why, how, or please describe.
Questions that tell the witness what the questioner wants them to say are called “leading questions”.
- Non-leading question: “What did you see in the apartment?”
- Leading question: “The apartment looked seriously damaged, didn’t it?”
Leading questions are not allowed in direct examination.
When your landlord is questioning a witness, you can object to questions being asked or to documents being offered as exhibits. You should object to something only if you can give a reason why the Board member shouldn’t allow it. You can’t object just because you think what the witness is saying isn’t true.
For example, if the question or document has nothing to do with the issues the Board member must decide, you can object by saying it is “not relevant”. You can also object if the landlord asks one of their own witnesses a leading question.
When your landlord or their lawyer finishes questioning each of their witnesses, you can then “cross-examine” the witness by asking them questions.
Leading questions are allowed during cross-examination. The purpose of cross-examination is to test how true and reliable the witness’ answers are.
The Board member should not let your landlord raise any issues at the hearing that they did not list on their form or in the Notice to End a Tenancy they gave you before they applied to the Board. You should tell the Board member if you think your landlord is raising a new issue.
When your landlord is finished presenting their evidence, the Board member will ask you to present your evidence.
You can then do a direct examination of each of your witnesses. You can call your witnesses in whatever order you choose.
In direct examination, you should ask each of your witnesses questions that let them tell the Board member what they know. But you aren’t allowed to ask your witnesses leading questions.
You can also be a witness yourself. If you don’t have a lawyer or other representative to ask you questions, just tell your story as simply as you can. The Board member may ask you questions.
Your landlord or their lawyer can cross-examine each of your witnesses. The Board member might ask your witnesses questions too.