In March 2020, the province unveiled its rental supplement program as thousands of renters worried about paying their monthly bills due to COVID-19’s strain on the economy. The fund, which provides $300 to $500 is in addition to the $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers. (Pixabay photo)

LandlordBC calls for province to increase COVID-19 rent supplement

Many renters are paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent, making $300-$500 too low, association says

A group representing landlords in B.C. is calling on the province to increase its COVID-19 rental supplement, as well as loosen the program’s eligibility requirements, which they say is leaving many renters behind.

In March, the province unveiled its rental supplement program as thousands of renters worried about paying their monthly bills due to COVID-19’s strain on the economy. The fund, which provides $300 to $500 is in addition to the $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers.

To be eligible, renters must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be receiving or be 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.
  • Be paying more than 30 per cent of current (reduced) gross monthly income towards rent.

But LandlordBC argues that the current amount of the supplement doesn’t meet the high rental costs in most major cities in the province. Instead, the association wants to see the benefit increase to $750 per month for renters with no dependents, and $1,000 per month for those with dependents.

“The current benefit amount is inadequate for a vast majority of renters relative to the monthly rent they are responsible for and, furthermore, the selection criteria is in our view leaving many renters behind,” the association said in a news release on Tuesday (April 28).

“The good news is that there’s time to fix this for May 1 when we are predicting a significant spike in the number of renters unable to pay their rent.”

Landlord BC also wants provincial officials to remove the income requirements and to extend this enhanced benefit through August 2020.

According to the Canadian Rental Housing Index, a significant proportion of renters are spending 30 per cent to 50 per cent of their household income on rent and utilities, especially in major urban centres. In Vancouver, 44 per cent of renter households are spending 30 per cent of their income on rent and utilities, and 23 per cent are spending more than 50 per cent of their income on housing.

The B.C. government has also placed a moratorium on evictions during the pandemic, unless issues of safety are involved.

In an emailed statement, the province said officials are continuing to monitor the impacts from COVID-19, including how long the pandemic lasts.

“People are encouraged to apply for all of the programs they’re eligible for,” the statement reads.

Had the federal government launched a rent supplement program, Landlord BC continued, “the rental housing ecosystem would have largely continued functioning normally.”

The Trudeau government has left renter issues to the individual provinces, instead focusing on wider-reaching emergency funds.

READ MORE: Businesses hard-hit by COVID-19 to get 75% in rent cost relief


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC governmentCoronavirusRentals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Know how and when to use bear spray in the outdoors: WildSafeBC

Avoid conflict with wildlife as provincial parks set to re-open for camping and backcountry access

LETTERS: Jet boat traffic, coal mining

Jet boat traffic on St. Mary River Dear Editor The St Marys… Continue reading

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Thoughtful plan for reintroducing visitors to Kimberley required: Mayor McCormick

As the City begins the process of reopening, Mayor Don McCormick wants… Continue reading

Kimberley Scouts participate in ‘Camp In’

What is Scouting about if not the opportunity to go camping? During… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Kimberley history: The Way it Was

COURTESY OF THE KIMBERLEY HERITAGE MUSEUM ARCHIVES KIMBERLEY NEWS May 31, 1961… Continue reading

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Most Read