Just over 20,000 people have applied for the B.C. rent supplement since the application portal launched Thursday (April 9).
According to the housing ministry, BC Housing – which is administering the supplement – 20,434 applications were submitted as of Monday.
The ministry said staff are focused on processing application and sending them to landlords to complete their portion. The supplement can provide up to $300 for singles or couples without dependents, and up to $500 for households with dependents for the months of April, May and June.
Once both renter and landlord have completed the application, payments will be direct deposited directly to landlords within seven days. BC Housing said payments are expected to be issued this week.
Following concerns over renters in illegal suites being unable to apply, the housing ministry said the status of their rental housing would not affect the application, nor jeopardize their living situation. Illegal suites include unauthorized secondary suites that do not meet their municipalities bylaw or zoning requirements. According to the housing minister, as long as the eligibility requirement are met, tenants are eligible:
• receiving or eligible for Employment Insurance, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or experiencing a 25 per cent reduction in monthly employment income as a result of COVID-19.
• have a 2019 household income of less than $74,150 for those with no dependents and $113,040 for those with dependents
• paying more than 30 per cent of current (reduced) gross monthly income towards rent
• not receiving any other rent subsidy from any level of government, including subsidized housing ore rent supplements such as Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) or the Rental Assistance Program (RAP)
BC Housing said it would not share landlords’ information with any other government bodies. Tenants whose landlords are not willing to fill out the application are asked to call BC Housing at 1-877-757-2577.