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Housing

Updated:
May 25, 2020

According to the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA): 

“You do not need to provide your medical information, including COVID-19 Coronavirus diagnosis, to your landlord. Tenancy or continued tenancy can not be contingent on the provision of medical information.”

To learn more about tenant rights during the coronavirus pandemic, see the BCCLA’s COVID-19 and Tenant Privacy Rights fact sheet.

Updated:
May 25, 2020

Parties are encouraged to stay home and to file applications and evidence online.  Parties should make reasonable efforts to file within the timelines set out in the legislation. While concessions will be made when possible, there are some timelines that cannot be extended. Refer to Policy Guideline 36: Extending a Time Period to make sure you’re not missing any important deadlines. Documents that cannot be filed online can be emailed. If you don’t have access to email, contact the BC Residential Tenancy Branch for assistance. Go HERE to learn more ways to get in contact with the RTB. 

In-person services are no longer available at the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) Office. However, a drop-box at the Burnaby RTB Office is available to submit paper applications, evidence and payment. Notice of Hearing packages can still be picked up in person at the Burnaby office and kiosks are available.

Check out the Residential Tenancy Branch website for the most current guidelines.

Updated:
May 25, 2020

BC landlords are still able to give notices of rent increases, however the increase will not come into effect until after the state of emergency is over. If your landlord does collect on the increased rent, you can deduct the extra amount from future rents. See HERE for more information.

Updated:
May 25, 2020

The BC Residential Tenancy Branch has provided answers to common questions about the changes in housing policies during the crisis. Information is available for landlords and tenants. See COVID-19 and Tenancies for up to date information. 

You can also call the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre’s Tenant Infoline at 604-255-0546 or 1-800-665-1185.

Updated:
May 25, 2020

You should pay rent whenever possible and take advantage of all the programs being offered now to assist renters. Currently, however, most evictions are not allowed including for the non-payment of rent. As of March 30th, most evictions are suspended and landlords are not permitted to send out notices of eviction. In narrow circumstances, such as if there is criminal activity taking place in the rental unit, the landlord can apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch to end the tenancy. A tenant who has not paid rent could face eviction once the state of emergency is over.

There are temporary rent supplements available for eligible households. Applications are made through BC Housing

If you were evicted before March 30th, 2020 your eviction still applies and you can either dispute it at the Residential Tenancy Branch, or accept it and move out. 

See the Residential Tenancy Branch’s website for up to date information.  You can also call the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre’s Info line at 604-255-0546 or 1-800-665-1185 to speak to one of their staff members.

Updated:
May 25, 2020

Generally in BC, most evictions are not allowed during the current state of emergency.

As of March 30th most evictions are suspended and landlords are not permitted to send out notices of eviction.  In narrow circumstances, such as if there is criminal activity taking place in the rental unit, the landlord can apply to the BC Residential Tenancy Branch to end the tenancy.

If you were evicted before March 30th, 2020 your eviction still applies and you can either dispute it at the Residential Tenancy Branch, or accept it and move out. A tenant who has not paid rent could face eviction once the state of emergency is over.

Exceptions include if the tenants puts the health and safety of the landlord or any other occupant at risk, or causes serious damage to the property. See the BC Residential Tenancy Branch for more information.

Updated:
May 25, 2020

You should try to pay for rent whenever you can. The  BC government has set up a program that will provide a  BC temporary rent supplement program of $300 for households with no dependents and $500 for households with dependents for the months of April, May and June 2020 (which will go directly to landlords) to those who qualify. 

To learn more about the program see www.bchousing.org/BCTRS or call 778-452-2836 or 1-877-757-2577. To apply see HERE.  Also, see BC Housing’s BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program FAQ

You should still pay your April and/or May rent if you can. While you cannot be evicted for not paying your rent now, that does not mean you cannot be evicted for outstanding rent once the emergency is over. Both landlords and tenants are in a tough spot so try to work out a plan with your landlord.

Go to the Residential Tenancy Branch for more information on housing and COVID-19. 

If you have lost your job as a result of COVID-19 Coronavirus, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the provincial and federal governments. See HERE for a list of BC programs designed to provide financial support. 

See HERE for a list of federal programs.

Updated:
May 25, 2020

BC landlords may only enter a tenant’s unit without consent if there is a risk to life or property. See the Residential Tenancy Branch  and BC Housing for more information.

As of March 30, 2020 landlords no longer have the right to enter a tenant’s unit unless they have asked for and obtained consent from their tenant. Entry to a tenant’s unit should only be for the emergency repairs.

Updated:
May 25, 2020

If you've lost income because of COVID-19 Coronavirus and can't pay your mortgage, you may be able to defer (postpone) payments. The most important first step is to talk to your lender. But it's important that you don’t stop making mortgage payments before you confirm with your lender that you qualify.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has provided some guidance on the Mortgage Deferral Program. Be aware that interest will still be charged during the deferment period. You should contact your lender for details about their policy and options.

See the Legal Services Society Q&A on the Coronavirus for more details.

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