The B.C. government is grappling with how to support landlords and renters as the BC Temporary Rental Supplement is set to expire at the end of the month.
Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the province is encouraging landlords and tenants to continue to work together to maintain payments whenever possible.
In March, the province announced a rental supplement of up to $500 per month for eligible renters who lost wages due to the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, the government announced a moratorium on evictions.
“It is also important to note that the eviction moratorium is temporary, and renters will be responsible for outstanding rent due after the state of emergency is lifted,” Robinson said in a statement.
“We recognize that there will be a need for transition measures to support both renters and landlords as we come out of the state of emergency. We are working on those now.”
Robinson says government has been clear that renters who aren’t experiencing financial hardship should continue to pay their rent.
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Landlord BC is calling on the province to lift the temporary moratorium on evictions as the economy starts to reopen.
“The reality is with the provincial government having robust plans for reopening the economy from our perspective our sector should be included and should be exempt so we can start operating in a normal environment,” Landlord BC CEO David Hutniak said.
Both the Vancouver Tenants Union and the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre (TRAC) are calling for the province to keep the eviction moratorium in place.
TRAC lawyer Robert Patterson says the province needs to create a plan to lift restrictions and getting rid of the moratorium should be the last step.
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“We think the correct way to address this problem is first for government to put in place a process that will forgive rent arrears to make sure those renters that couldn’t afford rent due to COVID-19 have those rents forgiven,” Patterson said.
“No tenant should face the loss of their home due to COVID-19.”
Patterson says his organization is also advocating for support for landlords. He says the support should be targeted to landlords that can prove financial hardship rather than larger rental companies.
“No tenant wants to see their landlord foreclosed upon,” Patterson said.
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