Important Information for Landlords and Tenants during COVID-19

Posted by Bryce Hansen on Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 at 1:52pm.

The B.C. government has continued to reassure renters they will not be evicted if they cannot pay rent during the state of emergency related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As you may be aware, it was announced on March 25, 2020 that the Province of British Columbia has halted evictions during the COVID-19 crisis. Though some support is being offered, it’s leaving tenants and landlords both posing questions of what the future holds in the Comox Valley and beyond. Below is some basic information to clarify the support available with additional links for extended funding education; 

A Temporary Rental Supplement (TRS) is currently available, offering up to $500 a month to help renters pay part of their rent and help ensure landlords continue to receive at least some rental income for the time being. Qualified tenants will be able to receive supplemental rent support for the months of April, May and June 2020 thus far. Full eligibility criteria and application forms for the rental supplement are available online at http://bchousing.org/bctrs

This TRS supplement is in addition to funding available from the federal government such as the CERB program and the $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers.

Additional aid has been delivered as the province navigates and identifies those needing extra care and support during these uncertain times, such as; permanent programs available for seniors (Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters) and for low-income families (Rental Assistance Program). To confirm if you or your loved ones may qualify for these specific programs you can head over to https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/rental-assistance 

We continue to keep a pulse on benefits available, both related to the Comox Valley Real Estate market, as well as wage subsidies that positively impact our clients, families and centres of influence. In response to the challenges posed by the current crisis, there are also funding programs available from the federal government online: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html 

While the rental supplement is designed to help renters pay their rent during this emergency, renters will be still be responsible for any outstanding rent owing after the state of emergency has ended. It is noted for this reason, that renters who are not experiencing financial hardship should still pay their rent in full. Tenants who are able to make even a partial rent payment are encouraged to do so.

Landlords providing rental housing rely on rent payments to maintain their real estate investments; paying for their utilities, mortgages and other bills related to the rental property. If renters are unable to pay the full rent or need more time, they are encouraged to inform their landlord and to apply for the supplement and other support programs. 

To protect both renters and landlords during this time, the Province has frozen rent increases for existing tenants. They have allowed landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19, and have given renters the right to control who enters their units, except in emergency circumstances. These measures and others are outlined in the March 25, 2020, announcement: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020MAH0048-000561

Renters and landlords are encouraged to do their best to communicate together and come to mutual solutions during the pandemic. People with specific questions should contact the Residential Tenancy Branch.

More information about changes in tenancy laws in response to the COVID-19 crisis can be found here: www.gov.bc.ca/landlordtenant/COVID-19

As we all navigate the evolving unchartered territories together, know the Bryce Hansen Real Estate team is here to support and educate through these uncertain times. Whether you’re looking to purchase real estate, list from a safe distance or understand some specifics of the Courtenay Real Estate Market; call Bryce today at 250-334-9900

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