The B.C. government reassures renters they will not be evicted if they cannot pay rent during the state of emergency related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As announced on March 25, 2020, the Province has halted evictions during the COVID-19 crisis.
To support renters who are facing a loss of income during the pandemic, a new Temporary Rental Supplement (TRS) will also offer up to $500 a month to help renters pay part of their rent and help ensure landlords continue to receive at least some rental income right now. More information about this program will be available by mid-April 2020. While the program will launch later this month, qualified tenants will be able to receive supplemental rent support for April, May and June 2020. This supplement is in addition to funding available from the federal government and the $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers.
There are existing programs for renters, such as Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) and the Rental Assistance Program (RAP).
More information on these programs is available online.
In response to the challenges posed by the current crisis, there are also programs available from the federal government online.
While the rental supplement is designed to help renters pay their rent during this emergency, renters will be responsible for any outstanding rent owing after the state of emergency has ended.
Renters who are not experiencing financial hardship should still pay their rent. Tenants who are able to make even a partial rent payment are encouraged to do so.
The people providing rental housing rely on rent payments to pay for their utilities, mortgages and other bills related to the rental property. If renters are unable to pay the full rent or need more time, they are encouraged to inform their landlord and to apply for the supplement and other support programs.
People interested in the new TRS program should monitor the BC Housing website for details on eligibility, the application process and other steps. This information will be posted on this website in the coming weeks.
To protect both renters and landlords during this time, the Province has frozen rent increases for existing tenants, allowed landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19, and given renters the right to control who enters their units, except in emergency circumstances. These measures and others are outlined in the March 25, 2020, announcement.
Renters and landlords are encouraged to do their best to come to mutual solutions during the pandemic. People with specific questions should contact the Residential Tenancy Branch.
For translations and further info please visit the BC Government Website.
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