I'm suspecting to have to take my ex-landlord to court. He's not giving back my damage deposit or prorated rent. Would I be able to get reimbursed for legal fees or attorney fees if I win? Since I had shared a kitchen with the landlord, I am not covered by the normal tenancy board, so would take it to small claims court (or CRT, if I'm not mistaking, as the claim would likely be less than $5,000).
I'm not sure about the CRT, but under the BC Small Claims Act attorney's fees are not recoverable:
- The Provincial Court may determine, in accordance with the rules, the amount of costs that are payable by one party in a proceeding under this Act or the rules to another party in the proceeding or it may direct a registrar of the court to determine the amount.
- If a registrar of the Provincial Court determines the amount of costs, any party to the proceeding may ask the court to review the registrar's decision on costs.
- If the rules provide for a reasonable fee, charge or other expense, the Provincial Court or a registrar of the court may determine what amount is reasonable.
- The Provincial Court must not order that one party in a proceeding under this Act or the rules pay counsel or solicitor's fees to another party to the proceeding.
The other three sections appear to indicate that other costs incurred in the course of the lawsuit (one's own work, filing fees, etc.) can be awarded, but that this is on a case-by-case basis.
While I haven't been able to find anything quickly about lawyer's fees in the CRT, it would surprise me. The whole point of tribunals such as the CRT is that people shouldn't need lawyers to bring a complaint. From their FAQ:
Can I hire a lawyer for my CRT dispute?
Yes, you can hire a lawyer. You can use them as your helper. Or, if you’re allowed to have a representative, a lawyer can be that representative.
For motor vehicle injury disputes, you can have a lawyer represent you. But you may need to ask the CRT for permission if you want somebody other than a lawyer to represent you.
If you are using a lawyer as your helper and not your representative, they won’t be able to speak on your behalf. The CRT also won’t be able to talk to your helper about your case. So it’s important that you use your own personal email address and contact information when you’re dealing with the CRT.
If you are using a lawyer as your representative, they’ll be able to communicate with the CRT on your behalf. The general rule is that you are not allowed to have a representative without asking for CRT permission, unless you are a minor or someone with impaired mental capacity or your dispute is under the CRT’s motor vehicle injury jurisdiction.