The BC government unveiled the details of a repayment framework this week that will assist renters and landlords in preparation for the full lifting of the temporary eviction ban on September 1.
“We know that COVID-19 has touched all aspects of our lives and our economy. As we carefully move forward with restarting the economy, we are taking the same measured approach to tenancy rules and giving people advance notice so they can plan,” said Housing Minister Selina Robinson.
“These changes will build on the extension of our Temporary Rent Supplement (TRS) program and give renters until next summer to gradually pay back any unpaid rent to help them maintain their housing, while also continuing the ban on rent increases until December.”
The ban was originally introduced in March, as a way to support those who found themselves unable to pay rent due to job loss during the pandemic.
And while the province said renters will need to pay their monthly rent in full beginning in September, “the repayment framework is designed so renters will not have to make their first payment until the first rent due date following 30 days of notice from the date of the repayment plan.”
For most renters, this will be October 1, “assuming their landlord provides them with a repayment plan before the end of August,” the province said.
And to ensure renters have a “reasonable timeframe to pay back any rent they owe from the emergency,” the BC government said the framework of its repayment plan requires the landlord to give the tenant until July 2021 to repay any outstanding rent, as long as monthly instalments are paid.
For example, the province said that a renter owing $2,000 in unpaid rent will receive a repayment framework that sets out:
- The total amount of rent still owed ($2,000)
- The amount the renter is expected to pay each month, with the total owing split into instalments (e.g., $200 each month from October 2020 to July 2021)
- The date of the first payment is due (October 1, 2020)
The province said this framework “will also leave some flexibility for landlords to work with renters to further adjust the payment amounts.” For example, allowing lower payments in the beginning of the agreement and gradually increasing the payment amounts over time or extending the duration of the repayment process past July 2021.
In the early stages of the pandemic response, landlords were temporarily prohibited from charging rent increases as part of government’s efforts to help people financially impacted by COVID-19. These rent increases will continue to be restricted until December 2020. In addition, in order to protect the health of building residents, landlords will continue to have the ability to restrict access to common spaces when required for COVID-19 related health reasons.
As of July 9, nearly 85,000 British Columbians are benefitting from the TRS. Eligible renters can continue to apply for support through the end of August.