Owe money for rent during the pandemic? Here's B.C.'s plan for tenants to pay back their landlords
Published Thursday, July 16, 2020 2:47PM PDT Last Updated Thursday, July 16, 2020 8:47PM PDT
Photo by CTV Vancouver's Pete Cline in Chopper 9 on Monday, June 4, 2018.
VANCOUVER -- The province is providing a first look at what repayment plans may look like when B.C.'s temporary ban on rent-based evictions is lifted later this summer.
The repayment framework will require landlords to give tenants until next summer to pay the full amount of money owed.
However, renters will be required to pay monthly instalments during that time.
In a news release Thursday, the housing ministry said its plan is meant to help renters and landlords "transition" when the ban is lifted, a change scheduled to take effect on Sept. 1.
As of that date, renters will need to pay their monthly rent in full. However, they'll have 30 days to make that payment from the date they were given notice, so for most renters, the date will be Oct. 1, the province says.
This is assuming their landlord gives them a repayment plan before the end of August.
Landlords will be required to provide tenants with the amount they'll be expected to pay each month.
The example given by the ministry is that a renter who owes $2,000 might be expected to pay $200 a month, from Oct. 1 to July 2021.
"Recognizing that many renters and landlords worked together to make arrangements during this crisis, the framework will also leave some flexibility for landlords to work with renters to further adjust the payment amounts," the ministry's statement said.
So a landlord may choose to make those monthly payments lower at the beginning, and gradually increase them over the 10-month period.
The Vancouver Tenants Union described the plans announced by the government as "outrageous," and said it will leave thousands of vulnerable renters at risk of eviction.
"Tenants have been under siege from multiple crises that have made their lives even more precarious, and today the B.C. government made the prospect of losing their homes very real," VTU member Mazdak Gharibnava said in a news release.
The group said a disproportionate number of the jobs lost during the pandemic have been low-paying positions, the kind often held by low-income individuals and families who rent their homes.
Asking them to pay off accumulated rent debt in the middle of the crisis isn't feasible, the VTU argued.
The province also announced Thursday its moratorium on rent increases will be extended for several months.
Landlords cannot raise tenants' rents until December.