Communication is Key – Talking to Your Tenants About COVID-19

Following the March 19th, 2020 announcement that British Columbia was entering a State of Emergency due to the ongoing COVID-19 Crisis, legislative changes, as well as federal and provincial government support programs were rolled out to assist people facing loss of employment, loss of income, and other hardships brought on by this pandemic. The information came fast and furious and it can be challenging to keep track of what programs are applicable to whom and how applications should be submitted.

Early on, LandlordBC launched our COVID-19 webpage providing landlords, property managers, and resident caretakers with a one-stop resource to support you and your tenants during this time. Communication is key. Talking with your tenants about the need for social distancing and the need to limit access to common facilities is vital in the efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Beyond this, it is also important that you maintain a respectful open dialog with your tenant(s) regarding payment of rent as this directly impacts your business needs.

Simply put some tenants will not be able to afford to pay all or some of their rent; this is the sad reality of the current situation. LandlordBC has been clear with our members – we are here to support you as you work to support your tenants. There are steps you can take to mitigate potential loss and the accumulation of tenant’s rent debt. Encouraging your tenants to apply for the BC Temporary Rent Subsidy (BC-TRS) and working with them to implement a Rent Deferral Agreement will ensure that British Columbia’s rental housing ecosystem can weather this crisis.

For the BC-TRS to be administered, the tenant must apply and the supplement ($300 for individuals and $500 for those with dependents) is then paid directly to the landlord. There is no deadline to apply, through the supplement is only available for rent due in April, May, and June. Tenants who were able to make a full payment for April but now feel that they need access to these funds can still apply for this benefit.

LandlordBC has drafted a letter to assist landlords in communicating with their tenant(s) and we have updated this to include the BC-TRS program details. We encourage all landlords to send this letter via email to all tenants to ensure they are aware of the support available to them.

We are here to help you navigate this situation. If you have any questions regarding communication with your tenants or the resources that LandlordBC has provided, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.


You may also be interested in:

Applications Are Now Open for the Temporary Rental Supplement
The BC Temporary Rental Supplement: Top 5 Questions
Top 10 Questions: Residential Tenancies and COVID-19