A new survey from the Victoria Tenant Action Group (VTGA) shows nearly a third of all respondents did not pay, or only partially paid, rent for the month of April.
On April 3, VTGA launched the survey to collect information on the different situations faced by renters and their interactions with landlords after the first of the month, collecting more than 60 responses from across the Capital Regional District.
Of those people who were unable to pay all or some of their rent, 70 per cent said that they either didn’t have enough money to pay or that paying rent would not have left enough to cover food and other necessities. Of the people who could pay rent in full, 18 per cent reported not having enough money for food and other necessities after paying rent.
According to the survey, 40 per cent of people expect they will not be able pay rent on May 1 without sacrificing something.
“These results confirm what we are hearing from our members,” said Ben Baird of VTAG in a press release. “Rent is either not being paid or it’s being paid at the expense of other basic survival needs like food and medication.”
The survey also found that a number of renters reported they were receiving communications from landlords threatening evictions for non-payment, trying to set up rent repayment contracts and urging tenants to apply for government relief in order to pay their rent. Three per cent of respondents said they received offers of rent reduction or waivers by their landlords.
The VTGA is calling for immediate rent amnesty in the form of rent-debt erasure, for all renters who have gone into debt since April 1, as well as calling for a full cancellation of rent and mortgage payments until the pandemic is over. They are also calling for landlord licensing to ensure accountability for landlords who use the threat of future evictions.
“By failing to enact a rent and mortgage moratorium before April 1, the B.C. government has thrown renters and landlords into deeper conflict. Tenants need a guarantee that rent will be cancelled and not result in debt accumulation and eviction in the future,” said Baird.