During this tough financial time, B.C. has announced that renters could be eligible for a $500 per month B.C. rental grant. This rent supplement would be for those who need support and are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. While this will be beneficial to many households, there is one catch.
As more and more people lose their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal and provincial governments are establishing grants to help support those who are experiencing financial difficulty.
“With lost jobs and lost wages due to COVID-19, many tenants are worried they can’t make the rent. It’s a challenging time for landlords too,” said Premier John Horgan in a press release.
“Nobody should lose their home as a result of COVID-19. Our plan will give much-needed financial relief to renters and landlords. It will also provide more security for renters, who will be able to stay in their homes without fear of eviction or increasing rents during this emergency.”
These funds are meant to help renters who find themselves with a loss of income.
The only catch is that the $500 would be paid directly to the landlord on the renter's behalf. This would ensure landlords continue to receive rental income during the pandemic.
This supplement is meant to benefit those who have low or moderate levels of income who are facing a financial strain but do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs.
In an address to the public, Horgan stated that this package is not for everyone, but rather the people who are most in need.
He also said that this program is for people who are in “genuine distress” and that the “fewer people who access the program, the more opportunity we have to expand it moving forward.”
Premier Horgan and Minister of Municipal Affairs + Housing Selina Robinson announce relief for renters and landlord… https://t.co/Spf1jgTOzi— BC Government News (@BC Government News)1585167324.0
Right now, the application is under development and will be be made available through B.C. Housing.
All you need to do to access the grant is proof that you have lost income. This could be done using a layoff notice.
Horgan stated that there is no guarantee the money will be in the pockets of renters by April 1, 2020.
Horgan admitted that $500 may not seem like a lot of money but when combined with other grants and benefits, it can make a difference.
In addition to the rental supplement, BC Housing is temporarily halting any and all evictions for low-income renters.
Enforcement of existing eviction notices have also been halted, for the time being.
B.C. Hydro has also announced that it will be implementing a deferral program for all customers. Some customers who have outstanding bills may also be eligible for a $600 grant to put towards bill coverage.
The provincial government also addressed the public on March 24, stating that student loan repayment would be suspended until September 2020.
Officials have also begun fast-tracking EI benefits for people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.