Eviction Ban, $500 Monthly for Renters in BC's Pandemic Housing Plan

Henrietta Brewer
March 26, 2020

"We can't guarantee it will be in (people's) pockets by April 1", said Premier John Horgan.

Horgan said the province is assuming its rental supplement will see 100% pick-up, and that the province is then "working back from there" on the understanding that not everyone will need it.

"We've been clear that no one will lose their housing because of COVID-19", said Herbert, a New Democrat.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson confirmed that the funds are meant to help low- and middle-income renters who have seen a "significant reduction" in income directly related to the spread of COVID-19, such as reduced hours or layoffs. "We're helping renters pay rent and giving them the peace of mind that they have a stable home in these unprecedented times, and ensuring that landlords can count on some rental income right now to keep them afloat too".

Under the plan, landlords are also prevented from entering rental units without the consent of a tenant, unless there is a need to protect someone's health and safety or to prevent damage to a unit.

BC Housing will be delivering the $500 a month supplement paid directly to landlords who have a renter unable to pay rent.

The payments will be administered through BC Housing and are on top of previously announced aid from the federal and provincial government.

The funding for the rental protection program will come from a $5-billion fund the B.C. government recently announced, he said.

People are being told to self-isolate at home during the pandemic and the possibility of being evicted must be prevented, Horgan said.

That security he's talking to is a temporary halt on evictions and a freeze on rents, even annual rent increases, during this time.

"The fewer people who access the program, the more opportunity we have to expand it", said Horgan, noting there are about 500,000 renters in B.C.

Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End, who led the Province's Rental Housing Task Force, consulted with a broad range of tenant and landlord organizations to inform the development of these actions that meet the needs of both landlords and tenants during the pandemic.

The exception is in cases where access is urgently needed due to a health or safety concern or to prevent undue damage to the unit. Landlords will be able to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a hearing, according to the province. The smaller number of court-ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government.

The province is further restricting methods that renters and landlords can use to serve notices, allowing emails but not personal service, to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19.

Landlord will be able to restrict the use of common areas, such as laundry rooms, by tenants or guests, as well.

Other reports by iNewsToday