The Residential Tenancy Act has been amended to support renters and landlords during the provincial state of emergency and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The amendments are in effect for the duration of the state of emergency. Talk to your landlord and make sure they are aware of the changes that have been made.
Tenants should pay rent wherever possible. The legislation still requires that tenants pay rent in full and on time.
- The state of emergency temporarily suspends a landlord’s ability to end a tenancy if a tenant does not pay the rent in full and on time
- A tenant who has not paid rent could face eviction once the state of emergency is over
Tenants facing difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis should consider all assistance that is available to them, including:
Temporary Rent Supplement
The temporary rent supplement will provide up to $500 per month.
- It will be available to low to-moderate-income renters who are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs
- Applications for the supplement are now open on the BC Housing website
- The supplement will be paid directly to landlords
A landlord can give a notice for rent increase during the state of emergency.
- The rent increase will not come into effect until the state of emergency is over
If a landlord has already given a notice for rent increase, the increase will not come into effect until after the state of emergency is over.
- For example, if your rent was set to increase on April 1, 2020, you should continue to pay your existing, pre-increase amount
- If a tenant has given their landlord post-dated cheques, the tenant should request that the cheques be returned to them and they can issue new cheques
If a landlord does collect the increase amount during the state of emergency, the tenant can deduct the additional amount from future rent payments.
Accessing Rental Units & Common Areas
To encourage physical distancing and minimize the transmission of COVID-19, landlords are not permitted to enter the rental unit without the consent of the tenant (even if proper notice has been served) unless there is risk to personal property or life.
A tenant must give consent for a landlord to enter the rental unit for the following reasons:
- Making regular repairs
- Showing the unit to prospective tenants
- Hosting an open house
A landlord can reasonably restrict or schedule the use of common or shared areas to support social distancing and prevent the spread of the virus.
- This applies to both tenants and guests of the rental building
- A landlord must not prevent or interfere with the access to the tenant’s rental unit
Most evictions are not allowed during the state of emergency.
- Notices to end tenancy cannot be given for any reason during the state of emergency
- In exceptional circumstances, a landlord may apply directly to the Residential Tenancy Branch to end the tenancy
Landlords cannot give notice to end tenancy for:
- Unpaid rent or utilities
- Landlord or purchaser use
- End of employment as a caretaker
- End of employment if the rental unit is being rented as a condition of employment
- Demolition, renovation, and conversion of a rental unit (or closure of a manufactured home park)
- Failure to qualify for a rental unit in subsidized housing
Landlords can apply to end a tenancy if it would be unreasonable, or unfair to the landlord or other occupants of the residential property, to wait for the state of emergency to end and the tenant or a person permitted on the residential property by the tenant has:
- Significantly interfered with or unreasonably disturbed another occupant or the landlord of the residential property
- Seriously jeopardized the health or safety or a lawful right or interest of the landlord or another occupant
- Put the landlord's property at significant risk
- Caused extraordinary damage to the residential property
- Engaged in illegal activity that has Caused or is likely to cause damage to the landlord's property, Adversely affected or is likely to adversely affect the quiet enjoyment, security, safety or physical well-being of another occupant of the residential property and Jeopardized or is likely to jeopardize a lawful right or interest of another occupant or the landlord
Landlords can also apply to end a tenancy if:
- The rental unit must be vacated to comply with an order of a municipal, provincial or federal authority
- The rental unit is uninhabitable
- The tenancy agreement is otherwise frustrated
CLICK HERE for more information on BC Residential Tenancies.