Rental support up to $500 for three months will be available through the province of B.C. It, along with the $1,000 one-time support available from the province, are both attached to the Federal’s CERB program (where one must have lost all income to be eligible, diminished incomes do not qualify at this time).
The hope is to have the rent supplement available for April 1, though it may take longer to actually implement.
There are 500,000 rental units in BC, and the province is planning for a 100% pickup. Horgan appealed to people who can still afford their own rent in full, please do that, take a pass on this support. There was an expectation for both tenants and landlords to have a strong ethical compass. If a landlord has a deferred mortgage, the implied expectation is that that landlord trickles down that “break” to the tenant.
The funds will go directly to the landlord, once the tenant has made the application through BC Housing.
A rent freeze has gone into effect for any rent increases set for April 1 or later.
Most evictions will be halted at this time. Court-ordered evictions will be left in the domain of the courts. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to talk to each other about rent modifications during this period. Property owners with secondary suites to depend on this income.
Landlords can restrict access to common areas (games rooms, laundry areas, etc).
The official release:
To support people and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province is introducing a new temporary rental supplement, halting evictions and freezing rents, among other actions.
The new rental supplement will help households by offering up to $500 a month towards their rent, building on federal and provincial financial supports already announced for British Columbians facing financial hardship.
The funds will support renters experiencing a loss of income by helping them pay their rent and will be paid directly to landlords on their behalf, to ensure landlords continue to receive rental income during the pandemic. Benefiting people with low to moderate incomes, this supplement will be available to renters who are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs.
Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End, who led the Province’s Rental Housing Task Force, consulted with a broad range of tenant and landlord organizations to inform the development of these actions that meet the needs of both landlords and tenants during the pandemic.
The Province is implementing a number of additional measures to keep people housed and protect their health. The full list of immediate measures includes:
- The new temporary rent supplement will provide up to $500 per month, paid directly to landlords.
- Halting evictions by ensuring a landlord may not issue a new notice to end tenancy for any reason. However, in exceptional cases where it may be needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the property, landlords will be able to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a hearing.
- Halting the enforcement of existing eviction notices issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns. The smaller number of court ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government.
- Freezing new annual rent increases during the state of emergency.
- Preventing landlords from accessing rental units without the consent of the tenant (for example, for showings or routine maintenance), except in exceptional cases where it is needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the unit.
- Restricting methods that renters and landlords can use to serve notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no personal service and allowing email).
- Allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.
To further support renters and landlords, the Residential Tenancy Branch will implement several additional actions, including adjourning and rescheduling hearings in situations where people need additional time to prepare and extending timelines for filing applications for dispute resolution.
These latest steps are part of government’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.
According to John Horgan, there will be a simple application process through BC Housing. It is attached to applications of the federal government’s aid package.
For information on B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan and other government resources and updates, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19
This comprehensive package supports renters by:
- halting new and active evictions, except for exceptional circumstances, so that no one is evicted because of COVID-19 and people can remain in their homes during this crisis;
- helping renters pay a portion of their rent each month through a new temporary rental supplement of up to $500 per month, building on other federal and provincial financial supports;
- freezing annual rent increases to ensure that landlords cannot apply an annual rent increase for existing tenants during the COVID-19 crisis;
- supporting tenants in social distancing and self-isolation by providing them the right to prevent landlords from accessing rental units without the tenant’s consent (for example, for showings or routine maintenance), except in exceptional cases where access is needed to respond to urgent health and safety concerns or to prevent undue damage to the unit;
- restricting methods of service for Residential Tenancy Branch disputes or notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no in-person service) and allowing service by email; and
- allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.
The new changes support landlords by:
- providing a new temporary rental supplement of up to $500 per month, which will be paid directly to landlords, ensuring they continue to receive rental income during the pandemic;
- preserving the ability for landlords to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for permission to issue a notice to end tenancy in exceptional circumstances, for example when the safety of landlord or other tenants is at risk;
- allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19; and
- restricting methods of service for Residential Tenancy Branch disputes or notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no in-person service) and allowing service by email.
Watch the full statement here:
Premier Horgan and Minister of Municipal Affairs + Housing Selina Robinson announce relief for renters and landlords, part of BC’s COVID-19 Action Plan.
For resources and more information about our response to COVID-19 see https://t.co/dNeIGC2C3X #COVIDBC https://t.co/8TkNl7deRP
— BC Government News (@BCGovNews) March 25, 2020
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