Provincial Rent Relief Guide
The Covid-19 crisis is having a major impact on Canadian landlords and tenants. As provincial governments take urgent actions to protect public health and flatten the curve, restrictions on businesses, the unexpected rise of employment insecurity (and loss) has left many tenants worried abound paying rent and landlords concerned how they will weather the storm while maintaining a secure environment for their renters. It is clear, that COVID-19 is going to have unsettling effects on our lives and the rental market.
It is uplifting that governments are continuously announcing new measures including financial aid and temporary modifications to the eviction process to reduce fear surrounding housing security. While these measures are important, much has been left to landlords and property owners to define themselves and arrange directly with their tenants. To assist, we’ve compiled a list of actions, resources and links to help you and serve your tenants.
Landlords are encouraged to address their own individual property preparedness, which includes cleaning practices, essential worker support and tenant communication. To assist in clarifying provincial support, we have compiled this list.
updated: April 9, 2020
Alberta, B.C., Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Northwest Territories have halted all non-urgent hearings before their landlord-tenant tribunals, effectively banning any evictions resulting from non-payment of rent. Other provinces and territories have moved to teleconference hearings.
- Civil enforcements of evictions currently underway for tenants for nonpayment of rent will be suspended until April 30.
Rent relief through emergency isolation support if you have experienced total or significant loss of income and are not receiving compensation from any other source directly due to COVID-19 and self-isolation requirements. Restrictions apply, see The Government of Alberta website for more details.
Landlords cannot raise their rent on residential properties or mobile home sites even if they have already given notice of an increase. What’s more, landlords will not be able to charge late fees on late rental payments until June 30 and they cannot be collected retroactively.
Landlords will still be allowed to file applications and receive orders for possession if they are evicting someone for reasons unrelated to rent or utility payments.
Also, if a Landlord suspects a tenant may have COVID-19 they are reminded that negative treatment of residents who have, or are perceived to have, COVID-19, for reasons unrelated to public health and safety, could be discriminatory and prohibited under the Alberta Human Rights Act.
British Columbia is subsidizing rent by paying up to $500 a month. The supplemental funds will be available through BC Housing for the next four months and paid directly to landlords when a tenant cannot pay rent. The application process with BC Housing will not be available online until mid-April.
Property Owners will also be able to have relief by way of Property Tax relief as well as bill payment deferrals.
For more information visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0013-000545
No specific provincial rent relief announced as of March 26, but the Premier has indicated thatsi some assistance is on the way.
All non-urgent eviction hearings until May 31 (evictions relating to illegal activity are still moving forward)
Landlords are required to note a rent freeze, including on any increases to rent that were previously communicated and set to be implemented beginning April 1, 2020) this overrides an earlier decision to allow 2.4 percent rent increases in Manitoba in 2020.
For more information call Manitoba Government Inquiry for updates: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744 or check Government of Manitoba website for updates.
Evictions requiring tenants to vacate for non-payment of rent, and the authority of residential tenancies officers scheduled to evict tenants for the same reason, are suspended, until May 31, 2020.
The Government of New Brunswick, in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross is offering a One-time income benefit of $900 is available to workers or self-employed people residing in the province who have lost their job due to the state of emergency. Benefit will end on April 30, 2020.
The rent relief is in addition to a one-time payment of $1,000 to B.C. residents who have lost income due to the crisis. The payment will be available to people who are eligible to receive federal Employment Insurance and the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Visit Government of New Brunswick website for updates.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The province is currently working on rental relief as Premier Dwight Ball made a statement stating that help is coming from the provincial and federal governments for renters in Newfoundland and Labrador.
There will be no rental evictions for three months for people whose income has been affected by COVID-19
Also, every individual and family member on income assistance residing within the province will receive an additional $50 starting Friday, 20 March. People do not need to apply.
Support is being promised in the coming days. Visit the Government of Nova Scotia website for updates and other assistance information.
As of March 25th there are no known or presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the territory and no renter-specific initiatives have been announced.
The Northwest Territories government has not announced financial aid directly in support of renters; however, those in public housing have been offered some relief.
The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has allowed tenants to defer their rent payments until a later date. Those renters will also not be evicted during the pandemic, unless they pose a significant risk to other tenants or a NWTHC building.
Residents in the territory may also be eligible for a one-time emergency allowance of $500 for a single recipient and $1,000 for households with two or more people to cover basic costs during the health emergency.
Check here for updates.
Currently, the only provincial rent relief comes in the form of a moratorium on evictions. Tenants must pay rent while an eviction order is not being enforced.
Landlords are being encouraged to make arrangements directly with Tenants. Tenants are being asked to be honest with landlords about their financial situation – as some larger property management firms have also committed funds to support their tenants during this time.
Renter advocacy groups are pushing the provincial government to do more. Visit Ontario.ca for updates.
FRPO, the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario, has been promoting a rental assistance proposal with the provincial government. This proposal would support tenants to cover any gap in rent payment.
Prince Edward Island
PEI has introduced the Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit that will provide $1,000 per household to help cover the cost of rent for a three month period. Eligible Islanders will receive $500 in the first month and $250 the following two months. Funds will be paid directly to landlords.
Eviction proceedings were delayed until April 6, 2020 for privately owned properties.
For those living in publicly owned housing, a six-week stoppage of evictions for tenants was announced on March 17, 2020.
The province has been providing 1,150 tenants with a rent supplement as of February.
At this point, no other provincial initiatives have been announced. Case count is still low in this province. Check here for updates.
Eviction hearings due to the COVID-19 pandemic are being suspended. The Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) will not accept applications for evictions related to missed or late rent or for other non-urgent claims.
Previous eviction orders for non-urgent matters that aren’t related to health and safety concerns will not be enforced. Additionally, all upcoming hearings for non-urgent matters were called off on Thursday.
Saskatchewan has also introduced financial assistance of up to $450 per week for a maximum of two weeks to workers in self-isolation or who aren’t eligible for other government programs, such as federal Employment Insurance.
Currently, is no other provincial relief specifically designated for renters but has ensured job-protected leave and removed the requirement of 13 consecutive weeks of employment to accessing sick leave. For updates, visit The Government of Saskatchewan website.
According to CBC, Saskatchewan Landlord Association says it’s seen a sharp spike in unpaid rents in April. The Association has proposed a rent bank mechanism to support tenants unable to pay rent.
Landlords have to wait 21 days before being allowed to file with the régie du logment to cancel a lease for unpaid rent. The rental board is temporarily closed due to the health crisis.
Québec housing officials are suspending some measures that would allow landlords to evict tenants or reclaim housing during the COVID-19 crisis. For updates, visit the Government of Quebec website.
The Quebec government has also provided temporary aid for workers that would see eligible residents receive a lump-sum payment of $573 for two weeks of self-isolation. The coverage could be extended to a maximum of 28 days for those who test positive for COVID-19.
On March 26, the Yukon government announced that landlords will be banned from evicting tenants who can’t pay their rent because they’re self-isolating or have lost work due to the pandemic. The ban on evictions will be in effect for 90 days.
The territory also said tenants will be allowed to pay their rent late if they’re unable to pay it when it’s due.
What’s more, renters who can’t afford their rent because of the health emergency can end their tenancy early without penalty.
The government has also introduced the new Paid Sick Leave Program, which allows workers without paid sick leave or those who are self-employed to self-isolate without losing income. The rebate will be paid directly to employers and those who are self-employed and will cover up to 10 days of those wages.
If you have any questions in regards to how LOCNEST can support landlords and tenants through our Lease Guarantee service, please reach out to us directly at email@example.com or 1-833-LOCNEST