With April 1st fast-approaching and financial constraints tightening for many Canadians due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Federation of Rental Housing Providers (FRPO) issued a statement on behalf of members offering advice to renters facing hardship.
“Our members sincerely care about our residents,” the letter stated. “We value you and your families. At this time of emergency, especially, we want you to be safe and secure in your homes. We know that many residents have had their incomes disrupted by the COVID-19 emergency. For some, it may be challenging to pay rent on April 1, 2020.”
To take some of the stress out of the situation, FRPO offered the following tips to those affected by the COVID-19 emergency:
- Reach out to your property manager by phone or online (to respect physical distancing).
- Explain the situation.
- Offer to pay what you can, if possible.
- Ask about government programs you might qualify for, and for the remainder, discuss a plan for how you could repay over time.
“Remember, it is important to please pay your rent if you can,” the statement stressed. “To keep buildings operating, clean, and safe, we need to pay our mortgages, operating costs and employees too.”
In closing, FRPO urged renters to look into the following aid programs that are now being offered by all levels of government:
- The Government of Canada has introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which provides $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to individuals who have lost their income as a result of COVID-19. The federal government is also providing a 75% wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses so they can keep people employed.
- The Government of Ontario has set aside $148 million for assistance through Municipal Service Managers, which will use the Canada-Ontario Housing Agreement to direct more resources to tenants. The Province has also committed additional financial relief for low-income seniors, families with children and individuals with student loans.
- Some municipalities have offered grace periods for municipal payments such as property taxes, water and other utilities, and our members commit to take that into account in making arrangements and calculating arrears