If you or someone you know has been directly impacted financially by COVID-19, then you could be eligible for more support in B.C. Following the lead of Ontario, BC Housing has announced that low-income renters can’t be evicted in the province until further notice because of COVID-19. The same people will also be eligible for a rent reduction if they have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
With more cities in Canada declaring states of emergency, officials now have the power to shut down non-essential businesses and facilities including bars, restaurants, and certain retailers.
While this is an attempt to stop the spread of the virus, many people have lost their jobs and have begun the lengthy process of applying for EI.
For many, this is a stressful time financially, but BC Housing has acknowledged this and has begun changing its rules to help out the most vulnerable populations.
According to the BC Housing website, officials have stated that there will be a "temporary moratorium on evictions" of tenants living in subsidized and affordable housing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Many tenants in subsidized housing are particularly vulnerable and face a combination of challenges in addition to their need for housing; it is probable that evictions would tax other social services. This is particularly true at this time, in light of the current COVID-19 situation,” wrote BC Housing.
“BC Housing is committed to preventing eviction of tenants and always considers eviction a last resort.”
Because of this, BC Housing is requesting that until further notice, eviction notices cannot be issued for non-payment of rent.
BC Housing did clarify that in instances where a tenant has demonstrated threatening behaviour to the life, health, or the safety of others then a full review should be done and all circumstances are to be considered before proceeding with eviction.
In addition, low-income home renters can apply for a rent reduction. This application will be streamlined for those tenants who have lost income due to COVID-19.
Rent recalculation will come into effect on April 1, 2020, and can then be processed for three months.
With the unique situation of the pandemic, both tenants and providers are needing to practice social distancing throughout the process.
This will mean that no signature is needed on the Application for Rent Subsidy form. Income proof is also being waived.
B.C. is not the only province doing this. In Ontario, Ford stated that residents won’t get evicted if they can’t pay rent this month.
Much like in B.C., all evictions will be suspended until further notice.