Alberta is upping protection for renters during the pandemic. On Friday, March 27, Premier Jason Kenney announced that no resident will be evicted on April 1 for non-payment of rent. Furthermore, as part of the Alberta rent assistance package, no rent increase is allowed while a provincial state of emergency is still in effect.
As part of his update during the province's daily COVID-19 press conference, Kenney notified the public about what measures the government is putting in place to help renters struggling with financial pressure.
"First, no one will be evicted on April 1 for non-payment of rent. Civil enforcement of evictions currently underway for tenants for non-payment of rent will be suspended until April 30," he said.
This would include tenants that have not been able to pay their rent in the past few months.
Secondly, Kenney is also barring rent increases while the province is under a state of emergency. "Effective today, there will be no rent increases, including rent increases for which notice was given months ago."
Thirdly, no one will pay late fees for rent payments over the next three months.
Lastly, Kenney said that as long as the state of emergency in Alberta remains, landlords are obliged to negotiate payment plans with their tenants that accommodate their renter's financial circumstances.
However, Jason Kenney does clarify that these measures regarding rental assistance do not apply to tenants who deliberately do damage to or commit criminal acts within their landlord's properties.
Kenney revealed that over 16,000 applications have been processed for the Emergency Isolation Fund provided by the province, although the webpage did crash on its first day.
The province has doled out $18.5 million so far to support Albertans in isolation.
In addition to new rental measures, Kenney also said that the province is banning all gatherings over 15 people. Previously, the limit was set at 50 people.
The province is also ordering all non-essential businesses to shut down amid the pandemic. This include massage parlours, hair salons, tattoo studios, barber shops, and businesses associated with dentistry, physiotherapy, or optometry services, among others.
Restaurants have also been told to shut down dine-in services, although they're still permitted for takeout and deliveries.
Businesses will be penalized if they're found not following these guidelines.
So far, the province has confirmed 542 cases of COVID-19, out of which 42 have been transmitted through the community, according to Dr. Deena Hinshaw's latest update.