British Columbia has announced a new rental supplement to help both renters and landlords by offering up to $500 a month towards their rent as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The new temporary rent supplement will be paid directly to landlords. This fund will benefit people with low to moderate incomes, who do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs.
“With lost jobs and lost wages due to COVID-19, many tenants are worried they can’t make the rent. It’s a challenging time for landlords too,” said Premier John Horgan. “Nobody should lose their home as a result of COVID-19. Our plan will give much-needed financial relief to renters and landlords. It will also provide more security for renters, who will be able to stay in their homes without fear of eviction or increasing rents during this emergency.”
These steps are part of the government’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.
SUPPORT FOR RENTERS:
- 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.
SUPPORT FOR LANDLORDS
- 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.