Landlords across B.C. are responding to Premier John Horgan’s March 25 announcement that a moratorium will be placed on evictions and rent increases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, Horgan also announced the provincial government will be providing up to $500 in rent supplements for those whose income was affected by the pandemic. The funding is scheduled to come forward in the near future, though Horgan said it may not be in renters’ pockets by the time the next month’s rent is due.
“We can’t guarantee it will be in their pockets by April 1,” Horgan said. “We are going to get the resources into people’s hands as quickly as possible.”
Horgan encouraged people who could pay rent to do so, and for others to have discussions with their landlords.
In response LandlordBC, the province’s landlord advocate and resource centre, put forward gratitude and concerns.
“We are pleased to see that the government will be providing renters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis with financial support and that these monies will flow directly to landlords. We are also pleased that the government was very clear that renters have a responsibility to pay their rent and it is the government’s expectation that all renters, including those renters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, who have the capacity to pay rent via savings, assistance from families, etc., do the responsible thing and pay their rent,” reads a statement signed by LandlordBC CEO David Hutniak.
“We are more concerned about the complete moratorium on evictions which includes new evictions but also evictions that may already be underway and the consequences this represents. We appreciate that the government is faced with a significant dilemma, nevertheless, a moratorium of this nature has the potential for huge unintended repercussions for individual landlords and the industry as a whole.”
Hutniak further commented that most landlords aren’t large businesses, but rather mom and pop shops which will also need support.
More clarity on how the provincial plans will be launched is expected to come shortly.
– With files from Tom Fletcher