Renters experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for the province’s temporary rental supplement.
Announced last month, the supplement will help households by offering up to $500 a month towards their rent, for three months, building on federal and provincial financial supports already announced for British Columbians.
“This crisis is putting pressure on people across BC. We’re helping British Columbians get through this by halting evictions so renters will not lose their home. We’re helping them pay rent with the new temporary rental supplement — providing direct relief on the biggest month-to-month expense for most households,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in a statement.
“Together with the other provincial and federal programs, the rental supplement will give people the financial support they need right now.”
The support will be made available on a per-household basis for those who meet the following criteria:
- Receiving or eligible for Employment Insurance, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or experiencing a 25% reduction in monthly employment income as a result of COVID-19
- Have a 2019 household income of less than $74,150 for singles or couples with no dependents and $113,040 for households with dependents
- Paying more than 30% of current/reduced gross monthly income towards rent
- Not receiving any other rent subsidy from any level of government, including subsidized housing or rent supplements, such as Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) or the Rental Assistance Program (RAP)
The program offers $300 per month for eligible applicants with no dependents and $500 per month for eligible households with dependents. Roommates will be able to apply for the supplement individually.
The supplement is available for April, May, and June of this year, and those who have already paid their rent this month are still eligible to receive the supplement for April.
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The money will be paid directly to landlords on behalf of tenants, and the provincial government says the supplement will be directly deposited within seven days once the application has been completed and processed.
Eligible renters can apply for the supplement online.
Last month, the provincial government also announced a ban on evictions right across the province, meaning a landlord may not issue a new notice to end tenancy for any reason.
An exemption applies “where it may be needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the property, landlords,” said the province. In these cases, “landlords will be able to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a hearing.”