A message to all owners and managers of rental housing across BC
As our worst fears were realized, wherein the Coronavirus Crisis evolved into the COVID-19 pandemic, our Governments at the federal, provincial and municipal level, heeding the expert advice of our many amazing health experts, demanded that Canadians stay at home. Resulting in the closure of many businesses and throwing hundreds of thousands of Canadians out of work and into financial turmoil.
As the crisis unfolded, we could see that many British Columbians could be at risk of losing their homes. LandlordBC immediately encouraged our members and the broader rental housing sector to work with their tenants to find solutions to help tenants stay housed. We expected our members to show compassion and remember that we’re all in this together – our members rose to the occasion. All the while we continued to pressure the BC Government to work with our sector so that both renters and landlords can weather this storm. We also ramped up our support mechanisms to help our members and the broader rental housing sector navigate this crisis and continue to do so until this crisis subsides.
The BC Government responded to this crisis on March 23, 2020 with a $5 billion financial package for businesses and individuals, which was subsequently augmented by a dedicated renter support program announced on March 25, 2020. LandlordBC diligently advocated on behalf of our sector to seek a balance, knowing that the Province faced an unprecedented health crisis. The decision to introduce an eviction moratorium, due to the province invoking a state of emergency, raised the prospect of a cohort of renters to withholding rent despite their access to personal funds and both federal and provincial COVID-19 support programs. We believe that most renters will elect to fulfill their responsibilities where possible and we strongly encourage them to do so. The $500 rent supplement which is available for a three-month period and paid directly to the recipient’s landlord, will provide some relief. However, LandlordBC had strongly advocated for a rent bank for the full amount of monthly rent. This is a concept that would help renters in need while providing a meaningful degree of security to landlords. We continue to advance this approach. We are also focusing on “next steps” and the recoupment of any unpaid rents, which in our view can only be achieved through a BC Government scheme that would ensure the burden for our sector housing hundreds of thousands of British Columbians is shifted from the backs of individual landlords to the general tax-payer purse, and thus spread equitably.
LandlordBC will continue to be a constructive and compassionate voice during this crisis. We are truly all in this together and it is necessary that we work together as a community and in collaboration with our government to find solutions that address today’s immediate needs with appropriate consideration for what comes next. The stakes are very high.
Click here for a full overview and some FAQ’s from the Ministerial Order that was released March 30, 2020.