Friday, June 19, 2020
The Government of British Columbia is extending the temporary rental supplement (TRS) until the end of August 2020 to continue to support renters and landlords.
It will also maintain the moratorium on rent increases and evictions for non-payment of rent, while enabling other notices to end tenancy to resume.
“COVID-19 has touched all aspects of our lives and our economy. While we are seeing good success at limiting the spread of COVID-19 thanks to everyone’s joint efforts, it has been a difficult time for many,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Recognizing the financial challenges faced by many people, our government is extending the TRS and maintaining the rent freeze and the ban on evictions for non-payment of rent. We’re continuing to protect renters as we also ensure landlords are receiving some income during this time.”
People who have already been approved for the TRS do not need to reapply. They will receive an email asking them to confirm they plan to live at the same address through July and August. New applications will also be accepted until Aug. 31 and will be eligible for a supplement for the month they are received and all subsequent months.
The moratorium on evictions has been in effect since March 30 and will continue for non-payment of rent. As the province moves forward with BC’s Restart Plan, the ban on evictions for reasons other than unpaid rent will be lifted later this month.
“As we move forward with carefully restarting the economy and look to a new normal, we are taking a similarly phased approach to rental housing,” Robinson said. “We’re recognizing that there are situations where it is safe and reasonable to return to normal processes, but we’re also continuing to protect people who have lost income because of the pandemic from losing their homes.”
When these changes come into effect, landlords will be able to serve new notices for reasons including landlord/purchaser use, such as where a new owner has purchased a property and intends to move in, and for cause (e.g., where a tenant is putting the landlord or other tenants at risk, or has sublet the apartment without permission). Depending on the type, these will require a notice period of between one and four months.
The Province is committed to giving people advance notice before lifting the moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent at a future date. It will put in place a framework that will require landlords to work with tenants to repay rent that is owing over a reasonable period of time. Government has been clear that tenants who have not experienced financial difficulties are expected to continue to pay rent. Tenants will also be responsible for outstanding rent when the ban on evictions for non-payment is lifted.
When the new order comes in later this month, landlords will also be allowed to access units for activities such as repairs, maintenance and showing of the unit, following the standard notice period. Landlords and tenants are expected to maintain physical distancing at all times and wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including masks. Landlords will continue to be able to set restrictions on shared spaces to ensure physical distancing, such as limiting the number of people in elevators and laundry rooms, and in places where adequate cleaning cannot be maintained, such as gyms.
The rental supplement is in addition to funding available from the federal government and the $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers. It is part of the Province’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people and businesses, and to support the services people count on.
- Between April 9, when the TRS program began, and June 15, BC Housing received more than 90,000 applications. The total confirmed eligible applications were nearly 82,500. The program will now continue through July and August.
- The TRS program provides $500 per month for eligible households with dependents and $300 per month for eligible households with no dependents. Eligible roommates are also able to apply for the supplement.
- When the new order comes in later this month, eviction notices served before the moratorium was enacted will come into effect and orders that were filed with the courts will be enforceable.
- Landlords wishing to have an existing notice of eviction enforced will be able to apply to begin that process July 1.
For information about the temporary rental supplement, including eligibility criteria, visit: http://bchousing.org/bctrs
Or call 1 877 757-2577
For the provincial health officer’s orders, notices and guidance, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/phoguidance
For non-health related information, including financial, child care and education supports, travel, transportation and essential service information, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/Covid-19
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.