COVID-19: B.C. making $500 a month available to renters

  • COVID-19: B.C. making $500 a month available to renters

COVID-19: B.C. making $500 a month available to renters

Previous story: The B.C. government is planning to announce supports for renters and landlords who are facing uncertainty during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, a 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.

Home furnishing retailer Dunelm on Tuesday was the latest major United Kingdom retailer to say it was launching talks with its landlords on rent reductions, as it seeks to find a way through a coronavirus crisis that has forced it to shut all stores.

Horgan said he doesn't want people to fear losing their homes, which "should be a place of comfort and security".

"With lost jobs and lost wages due to COVID-19, many tenants are anxious they can't make the rent".

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).

The industry association has instead called for robust relief programs and encouraged landlords to delay planned rent increases.

The VTU, which has been calling for a moratorium on evictions for days, said it has heard from some 1,200 renters who fear they won't be able to pay rent come April 1.

"We're helping renters pay rent and giving them the peace of mind that they have a stable home in these unprecedented times, and ensuring that landlords can count on some rental income right now to keep them afloat too", said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson.

"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.

The B.C. government has imposed a moratorium on residential evictions and will provide renters with up to $500 per month for the next four months to meet rent payments. 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.

Existing eviction notices issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch are also halted, except for safety concerns, and such cases will be up to the courts.

The smaller number of court-ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government, she added.

With few exceptions, landlords will also be prevented from entering tenants' homes without tenants' consent.

Earlier today, the federal government announced a new $2,000 monthly benefit for Canadians, which replaces and expands two previously announced emergency benefits.

The province is restricting methods that renters and landlords can use to serve notices as well to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 by disallowing personal service and allowing email.

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.