The B.C. government announced it has extended the temporary rental supplement (TRS) until the end of August 2020. It will also maintain the moratorium on rent increases and evictions for non-payment of rent.
“COVID-19 has touched all aspects of our lives and our economy,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “While we are seeing good success at limiting the spread of COVID-19 thanks to everyone’s joint efforts, it has been a difficult time for many. 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.”
People who have already been approved for the temporary rental supplement do not need to reapply. Recipients will receive an email asking them to confirm that they plan to live at the same address through July and August. New applications will also be accepted until August 31.
In addition, the moratorium on evictions, which has been in effect in B.C. since March 30, will continue for non-payment of rent; however, landlords will soon be able to serve new notices for reasons including landlord/purchaser use (in which a new owner has purchased a property and intends to move in) or for causes including risky behaviour or subletting without permission. Depending on the reason, these will require a notice period of between one and four months.
“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.”
In addition, the B.C. government assures tenants it will provide advance notice before lifting the moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent. It will put in place a framework that will require landlords to work with tenants to repay rent that is owing over a reasonable period of time. In the meantime, tenants who have not experienced financial difficulties are expected to continue to pay rent. Tenants will also be responsible for outstanding rent when the ban on evictions for non-payment is lifted.
When the new order comes in later this month, landlords will be allowed to access units for activities such as repairs, maintenance and showings, following the standard notice period. Landlords and tenants are expected to maintain physical distancing at all times and wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including masks. Landlords will continue to be able to set restrictions on shared spaces to ensure physical distancing, such as limiting the number of people in elevators and laundry rooms, and in places where adequate cleaning cannot be maintained, such as gyms.
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