B.C. is extending the temporary rental supplement (TRS) until the end of August to continue to support renters and landlords as well as maintaining the moratorium on rent increases and evictions for non-payment of rent.
However, other notices to end tenancy will be allowed, the government said June 19.
Those already approved for the supplement do not need to reapply and can expect an email asking for confirmation that 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.
“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,” Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson said.
Victoria March 25 ordered a ban on virtually all rental evictions – including those in progress – froze rental increases and issued $500 payments directly to landlords to help tenants battling job and income losses for the pandemic’s duration. The situation left many landlords and tenants at loggerheads.
LandlordBC has already sought ministerial order amendments around non-payment of rent, owner possession, damage to rental units or property, disturbing other tenants' rights of quiet enjoyment and other issues.
LandlordBC CEO David Hutniak said the supplement extension “is a very positive outcome and a measure that LandlordBC had strongly advocated for. We are very pleased with this outcome for both renters and landlords.”
Hutniak said LandlordBC was consulted on a two-phased restart for its sector.
He said Phase 1, effective July 1, will permit a return to a significant degree of normalcy while Phase 2 points to a legislated structure facilitating repayment of outstanding rents incurred during the March 17 to end of June period.
“We will need to see the details of this proposed structure before we can comment further,” Hutniak said. “The continuation of the rent freeze remains a concern for our sector and we will continue to engage with the province on this issue.”From the program’s April 9 start to June 15, BC Housing received more than 90,000 applications with 82,500 confirmed as eligible. The 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.
The evictions moratorium has been in effect since March 30 and will continue for non-payment of rent.
The ban on evictions for reasons other than unpaid rent will be lifted later in June.
"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."
The ministry said as the changes take effect, landlords would 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.
Victoria said it would create a framework requiring landlords to work with tenants to repay rent 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,” the ministry said. “Tenants will also be responsible for outstanding rent when the ban on evictions for non-payment is lifted.
The rental supplement is in addition to funding available from Ottawa and the $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers.
More to come.