Dear Owners and Managers of Rental Housing in BC,
We’ve heard from many of you and thank you for your input. We share your many and real concerns for our sector and your ability to continue to deliver long term rental housing for BC families. Faced with the unprecedented challenges resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, what we also heard from you is that you genuinely care about your residents and that you want to help mitigate the issues they are experiencing resulting from loss of income, self-isolation and other financial concerns caused by the pandemic.
Our top priority as an organization, to the best of our ability, is to help rental housing providers navigate this crisis. We want to ensure that you are protected as a rental housing provider so that the risks you face in these uncertain times are mitigated, to the fullest extent possible. We want to help you protect the health and safety of your residents, employees, and families, and to continue to provide essential housing services in a healthy and safe manner. Finally, we are committed to working with all levels of government to help keep British Columbians in their homes during these difficult times.
Earlier we provided you with a sample letter to use to communicate with your residents. We continue to encourage you to continue to work with residents who may be having challenges paying their rent due to financial hardship related to job loss, additional burdens caring for family or illness due to COVID-19. We ask you to continue to work with residents on a case-by-case basis to determine effective and fair relief.
LandlordBC has been actively involved in discussions with the Province as it struggles to address the many challenges associated with this crisis, including the continued housing of renters. They are understandably very concerned about the health and safety of all British Columbians and, on the basis of the best healthcare advice they can get, social distancing, staying at home and, self-isolation have been clearly identified as the best courses of action depending upon an individual’s circumstances.
So, what can be done to help ensure renters have the housing they need? The best course of action in our view is for the Province to immediately implement and fund a rent bank that will provide immediate assistance to renters directly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. What’s a rent bank? Learn more here. While there is a small network of rent banks in BC, they have neither the loan capital nor the infrastructure to handle the scale of need for this crisis. However, we do have a network of Income Assistance offices and skilled and knowledgeable workers in these offices to roll out and manage a large-scale rent bank, and that is what we are recommending to the Province. Furthermore, with the implementation of a rent bank in BC, the federal government, through CMHC, can get involved by backing these rent bank loans thereby mitigating the Province’s credit risk. By implementing a rent bank there will be no need for a moratorium on evictions due to non-payment of rent!
So, what can you do? We need you to email Premier Horgan, Minister James, Minister Robinson and, MLA Chandra-Herbert right now (email addresses below) asking them to immediately implement a rent bank for renters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. All you have to do is copy and paste the below text into an email, sign your name and which city/town you live in and hit send! Please do this immediately! Thank you and LandlordBC will continue to advocate on your behalf.
I am a rental housing provider in BC and proudly provide secure, long-term rental housing. Our sector is disproportionately represented by small landlords, many of whom rely on the income from rental homes to maintain our own housing. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the measures required to reduce transmission of the virus mean challenges for us all. I want to ensure that our residents have secure housing during these challenging times. Additionally, I wish to ensure that I am able to continue to maintain my financial obligations and provide for my family. I need your Government to take a fair and balanced approach as it addresses the challenges associated with this crisis, including the continued housing of renters. I am emailing you to ask that you immediately create and fund a rent bank for BC renters.
While there is a network of rent banks in BC, they have neither the loan capital nor the infrastructure to handle the scale of need for this crisis. However, we do have a network of Income Assistance offices and knowledgeable workers in these offices to roll out and manage a large-scale rent bank, which is what we recommend. By implementing a rent bank there will be no need for a moratorium on evictions due to non-payment of rent.