The Ontario Real Estate Association says it supports the province’s order to stop all evictions during the state of emergency.
As April 1 is just around the corner, OREA president Sean Morrison said he has heard from a large number of tenants and landlords about how to navigate rental housing during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Landlords should clearly be aware that the Provincial government has ordered Ontarians to stay at home, follow public health guidelines and practice social distancing during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Morrison in a statement.
“We all need to put the health of Ontario residents at the top of the priority list. For that reason, OREA is calling on all landlords to stop in-person showings of tenant-occupied properties or seeking another tenant during the State of Emergency.”
Morrison particularly states that tenants with underlying medical issues or are at risk should “NEVER” be forced to allow strangers in their homes at this time.
The OREA president also touched on the Ontario renters who have lost their jobs.
“Many Ontarians have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 and have fallen on hard financial times. No one should lose their home during a pandemic and that is why OREA supports Ontario’s order to stop all evictions during the State of Emergency,” he said.
“If tenants can afford to pay their rent, then they should pay. If they cannot, landlords and tenants should work together with support from the Ontario Government to find a solution that protects everyone’s health, safety and financial wellbeing.”
Morrison added that “mom and pop” landlords are particularly vulnerable to experiencing significant financial hardship if they cannot earn rent, especially during a prolonged state of emergency.
“The Province of Ontario has an obligation to help the situation: allowing tenants security in their homes during the crisis is the right thing to do,” said Morrison. “However, this should go hand in hand with ensuring landlords do not similarly suffer financial hardship, lose their investments and exit the rental market altogether.”
Morrison said that at times like these, “we all need to work together for the health of our communities.”
Last week, Mayor John Tory asked landlords to provide relief for tenants who cannot pay their rent.
On Thursday, the mayor said he spoke with landlords from across the city and asked them to provide plans to help tenants who have lost their jobs.
“Many companies pledged to help tenants who needed it, but many have not done enough,” Tory said during the city’s daily press conference at the time.
He strongly urged all property owners to help relieve some of the anxieties tenants are facing with the looming April 1 pay date.
Tory also asked that all landlords effectively communicate to tenants of any new policies in place.
“I would be extremely disappointed if flexibility was not given to tenants,” he said.