The Government of British Columbia has announced that it will be extending the temporary rental supplement (TRS) and the moratorium on eviction bans and rent increases until the end of August 2020.
The temporary rental supplement was an initiative introduced by the B.C. Government that provides up to $500 per month to help renters and landlords amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has touched all aspects of our lives and our economy. 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,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “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.”
According to a government press release, anyone who has already been approved for the TRS does not need to reapply. Instead, an e-mail will be sent to anyone receiving the TRS and ask them to confirm they plan to live at the same address through July and August.
For B.C. residents who have not applied, the government says new applications will be accepted until Aug. 31. Supplements will be applied for the month applications are received and all subsequent months, according to the Province.
An eviction ban has been in place within British Columbia since the end of March and this will be extended for residents that still are unable to pay rent. The government clarified, however, that the ban on evictions for anything other than unpaid rent will be lifted later this month.
“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.”
The Province says that it is committed to giving people advance notice before lifting the moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent at a future date.
The government suggests a framework will that will require landlords and tenants to work together to repay outstanding rent over a reasonable period of time.
The B.C. Government continues to emphasize that tenants who have not experienced financial difficulties are expected to continue to pay rent.
Tenants will also be responsible for any unpaid rent when the ban on evictions for non-payment is lifted.
According to the Province, the new order will allow landlords to access units once again for activities such as repairs, maintenance and showing of the unit, following the standard notice period.
Landlords will also continue to have control over 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.
The rental supplement is in addition to funding available from the federal government and the $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers. It is part of the Province’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people and businesses, and to support the services people count on.
The TRS program has received approximately 82,500 successful applicants between April 9 and June 15, adds B.C. Housing. Landlords hoping to have an existing notice of eviction enforced will be able to apply to begin that process starting July 1.