VANCOUVER -- Landlords in British Columbia are allowed to start evicting tenants again, but not for failing to pay the rent.

On Wednesday, the province's Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said landlords can once again issue a Notice to End Tenancy for reasons other than late or missed rent payments, effective immediately.

Landlords are also once again allowed to enter a rental suite without the tenant's consent, including for maintenance and showings, provided they give 24 hours' notice.

"They are expected to follow health guidelines like physical distancing, cleaning and wearing masks when appropriate," the ministry said in a news release.

Any landlords who have existing eviction orders can take them to court for enforcement beginning on July 2.

The government stressed that its moratorium on evictions related to rent, and its moratorium on rent increases, remain in effect.

Officials said they will be giving the public advanced notice before lifting those measures.

"A framework will be put in place that will require landlords to work with tenants to repay rent that is owing over a reasonable period of time," the ministry said.

Advocates for tenants are arguing much more should be done to protect people who have been hit hard by the crisis.

The Vancouver Tenants Union has created a petition calling on the government to cancel all existing eviction notices and rent debt accrued before and during the pandemic to help people recover financially.

As of Wednesday evening, the petition had been signed about 1,150 times.

The group argued that letting people lose homes they have lived in for years through eventual eviction would "result in the destruction of much of the existing affordable rental stock."

"The vast majority of the units that have been lived in for years by low-income and vulnerable tenants who paid below-market rents will be transformed into unaffordable market-rate rental units and fuel our housing crisis," the tenants union said on its website.