With BC entering Step 3 of BC’s Restart Plan, the state of emergency being lifted and the COVID-19 Related Measures Act coming to an end it is important to review how these changes affect residential tenancies. While many sectors are opening up, we are not yet out of the woods and rental housing providers should still be vigilant in protecting themselves, their staff, and residents.
It is important to note that while cases are trending down and inoculation trending up there are still vulnerable populations, such as seniors and the immunocompromised, which have the potential to be significantly impacted by COVID-19. It is our responsibility to ensure all available measures are taken to provide a safe environment for all residents and staff.
Rental Repayment Plans
To address any unpaid rent from April 1, 2020, up to and including August 1, 2020, the Government introduced the Rental Repayment Plans. These plans were meant to be served by landlords to their tenants with arrears and provided the tenant with the opportunity to repay with equal payments over several months.
July is last month for standard RTB Rent Repayment Plan payments and if the repayment plan was correctly implemented there should not be any outstanding rent after July 1, 2021. Landlords who did not serve their tenant a repayment plan but have unpaid rent from April 1 to August 1, 2020, and still have unpaid rent should apply for monetary order.
Common Facilities Closures
As part of Step 3 of BC’s Restart Plan gyms and recreation facilities will slowly be able to open for more patrons. Landlords should consider starting to open their common facilities but still limit the number of people allowed in these spaces at any given time. Additionally, landlords should continue to ensure all high touch surfaces are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Landlords wanting or needing to close these facilities permanently will need to reduce their tenants rent by the value of that service or facility. Members can read more about Terminating or Restricting a Service or Facility in the members only section guides on the LandlordBC site.
Common Area Cleaning
Landlords should continue to regularly clean and frequently disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas. This includes door handles to common doors and elevator buttons. You can review our safe premises guide here.
While no longer mandatory, the Provincial Health Officer does highly recommend the use of masks in indoor public spaces especially for those that have not received 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes indoor common areas of residential buildings. LandlordBC encourages all landlords, property managers, resident caretakers, and onsite staff to continue to wear masks in all indoor common areas.
Entering Tenanted Rental Units
There are currently no COVID-19 related restrictions on entering tenanted rental units, but LandlordBC recommends avoiding entry except when it is necessary, where possible utilizing technology to show tenanted units to prospective tenants or purchasers. LandlordBC also recommends that anyone entering a tenanted unit wear a mask and touch as little as possible.
When showing a unit to potential tenants or purchasers rental housing providers are recommended to continue to keep numbers low – both in number of people in the rental unit at one time and frequency. These precautions are especially important for senior or vulnerable tenants.
Throughout the past nearly year and half LandlordBC has worked tirelessly to ensure rental housing providers are kept up to date with the most recent relevant information pertaining to COVID-19 to ensure we all make it through this pandemic safely. LandlordBC will continue to provide updates as our Province and Country begin to fully reopen.
This post reflects the latest information we had at the time it was published.