With the ban on evictions poised to lift September 1, 2020, the B.C. government has announced several planned residential tenancy changes, including a rent repayment framework for tenants owing money due to COVID-related income loss.
At a press conference on July 17th, B.C. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson said the framework gives renters advance notice to plan ahead for upcoming payments so they may continue to live in their current housing after the moratorium lifts. All back-payments are to be paid to landlords in structured installments by July 2021, while the ban on rent increases will continue until December.
LandlordBC, a member-driven association and BC’s top resource for owners and managers of rental housing, supports the new plan, calling the repayment framework a workable solution.
“It is our view that the Province has navigated the COVID-19 crisis extremely well under very challenging circumstances,” said David Hutniak, CEO. “Renters are being provided a very fair and reasonable process to amortize the repayment of their unpaid balances, without any fees or interest being applied. Our approach has always been to work with government to find balanced solutions, and we feel that this repayment framework achieves this.”
That said, not all B.C. landlords are on side with the government’s pandemic measures to date, but fortunately, numerous surveys show that most renters paid all or a significant portion of their rent throughout the state of emergency.
“As a sector, we understood that we were in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis,” Hutniak said. “We immediately encouraged our members to work collaboratively with their tenants to accommodate them as much as possible and to demonstrate appropriate sensitivity and compassion during the crisis. We are pleased to say that they answered the call.”
Changes to residential tenancies
B.C. renters and landlords impacted by COVID-19 can anticipate the following changes to residential tenancies as Phase 3 of the reopening continues:
• Renters will need to pay their monthly rent in full beginning September 2020
• A landlord whose tenant has unpaid rent or utilities during the emergency period would be required to enter into a repayment plan for those arrears
• A landlord would not be able to issue a Notice to End Tenancy for unpaid rent or utilities during this period unless the tenant has defaulted on their repayment plan
• A landlord would be able to issue a Notice of Rent Increase, but it will not come into effect until December 1, 2020