Province making $500 a month available to renters due to COVID-19

26 Mars, 2020, 04:22 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • UK's retail property owners and tenants work together to defer rent payments

People who qualify for help through the federal Employment Insurance program by showing they've been financially affected by COVID-19 will be eligible for the temporary rent supplement, which will be paid directly to their landlords.

"We are doing everything we can to make sure that if (people) are sick or self-isolating, or if they have had their hours cut back or they were laid off that they would not be fearful of losing their home", Horgan said.

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Housing Minister Selina Robinson said during the conference that although there will be a moratorium on evictions, there will be some exceptions including if there are safety issues.

"Tenants are still fully liable for their rent payments and any damage as we ensure that landlords do not increase the burden on tenants".

The British government, scrambling to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, said last week that landlords should not evict commercial tenants who do not pay their rent due to the crisis.

As of the latest numbers released March 24, there are a total of 617 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. The cases span all B.C. health regions: Vancouver Coastal (330), Fraser Health (194), Island Health (44), Interior Health (41) and Northern Health (eight). "I'm hopeful that other landlords will show respect for their tenants in these extraordinary times", Finance Minister Carole James said at a press conference Monday.

"You have a relationship with your landlord, let's all hope that they're good relationships and you're going to have to find a way to work this out together", Horgan said.

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He also said the housing measures complement the $2,000 and $1,000 monthly payments already offered by the federal and provincial governments respectively to people who have lost income due to the pandemic.

The province is planning for the worst, the premier said, with the rental supplement covering all of the roughly 500,000 renters in B.C. and will go towards renters experiencing a loss of income.

The Northwest Territories joined Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island in halting all non-urgent hearings before their landlord-tenant tribunals, effectively banning any evictions resulting from non-payment of rent.

Halting evictions by ensuring a landlord may not issue a new notice to end tenancy for any reason. Existing eviction orders with B.C.'s Residential Tenancy Branch have also been halted.

Robinson added that the province is granting landlords the power to regulate the use of multi-purpose and amenity spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The smaller number of court-ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government, she added. Renters will also be able to prevent landlords from entering their units except in exceptional cases.

The province's 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.

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