BC Government extending temporary rental supplement

Jun 19 2020, 8:54 am

The provincial government will be extending its temporary rental supplement (TRS), aiming to provide additional relief to renters and landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program was first announced in March and was initially planned to be a three-month supplement. Households would be given up to $500 a month towards rent, building on additional federal and provincial programs that had been announced at the time.

Now, the program will continue until the end of August 2020. BC’s rent increase freeze will also remain in place.

“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,” says Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in a written statement.

“We’re continuing to protect renters as we also ensure landlords are receiving some income during this time.”

The supplement is paid directly to landlords on behalf of the tenants, providing some guaranteed relief towards their mortgage, at a time when they have little recourse against their tenants for non-payments.

Those who have already been approved for the TRS will not need to reapply, rather, they’ll receive an email asking for confirmation of their address. New applicants will also be eligible to apply until August 31.

The provincial government also notes that landlords will be allowed to evict residents later this month, however, only for “reasons other than unpaid rent.” This includes scenarios such as renter purchasing new property with the intention of moving in or scenarios where a tenant is putting a landlord or other tenants at risk. These evictions, however, will require notice between one and four months.

BC says that renters will be given advanced notice prior to lifting the ban of non-payment-based evictions. A framework will also be put in place requiring landlords to work with tenants to “repay rent that is owing over a reasonable period of time.”

Tenants will also be responsible for rent when the ban on evictions for non-payment is lifted.

Between early April and mid-June, BC Housing saw more than 90,000 applications for the TRS program, with almost 82,500 being accepted.