The province of British Columbia has extended the temporary rental supplement (the “TRS”) until the end of August 2020 to support landlords and tenants amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The moratorium on rent increases and eviction for non-payment of rent will also be extended. Both the TRS and moratorium are part of the provincial housing plan (the “Housing Plan”) announced by the province on March 25, 2020. See our bulletin British Columbia Government Announces Housing Initiative Amid COVID-19 Crisis.
Highlights from the announcement include:
1. Temporary Rental Supplement Extended - The province is extending the TRS until August 31, 2020. Applicants already approved for the TRS will not need to reapply, and they will receive an email asking them to confirm plans to reside at the same address through July and August. New applicants have until the end of August to apply, and will be eligible for the TRS for the month their application is received, as well as all subsequent months.
2. Changes to Moratorium on Eviction - The moratorium will only continue for rent increases and unpaid rent, while the ban on eviction for other reasons will be lifted later this month as part of BC’s Restart Plan. For example, landlords will now be able to serve eviction notices for landlord/purchaser use (i.e. where a new owner has purchased the property and intends to move in) or for cause (such as for other defaults of the residential tenancy agreement). The applicable required notice period will range from one to four months.
3. When Moratorium is Lifted - Tenants will be responsible for all outstanding rent when the ban on eviction for non-payment is lifted. The province plans to provide advance notice when lifting the moratorium, as well as a repayment framework between residential landlords and tenants.
4. Enforce Existing Notice of Eviction - When the new provincial order (the “New Order”) takes effect later this month, eviction notices served before the moratorium was enacted will come into effect. Beginning July 1, 2020, landlords can apply to begin the process of enforcing an existing notice of eviction.
5. Landlord Access Units with Precautions - Once the New Order takes effect, landlords will also be able to access units for activities including repairs, maintenance and unit showings following the standard notice period. However, landlords and tenants must continue to maintain physical distancing and wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as masks.
6. Additional Landlord Powers Extended- Landlords may continue to restrict the use of common areas to ensure physical distancing. For instance, landlords can restrict the number of people in elevators, laundry rooms and other places where adequate cleaning cannot be maintained.