Tenant Support and Resources
Updated: March 30, 2021
Important information for tenants specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the Province’s website (updated: March 30, 2020). Some of the important updated information for tenants is summarized below:
- On March 25th, 2021, changes were made to Tenancy Laws. Here is a summary of these changes:
- The rent increase freeze has been extended until December 31, 2021. Annual rent increase notices with an effective date after March 30, 2020 and before January 1, 2022 are canceled. If you are a tenant and received a rent increase notice that falls within these dates, do not pay the increased amount. If a landlord does collect the increased amount during the period that rent increases are not allowed, tenants can deduct the additional amount from future rent payments. This rent increase freeze does not include commercial tenancies, non-profit housing tenancies where rent is geared to income, co-operative housing and some assisted living facilities. More information on if tenancies are covered under BC Tenancy laws can be found here.
- Cap on rent increases; starting in 2022 and beyond, rent increases will be capped at the rate of inflation.
- Changes have been introduced to further protect tenants from evictions for the purposes of renovations. Effective July 1, 2021, landlords will be required to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) before they can terminate a tenancy agreement for the purpose of renovating. In addition, landlords will not be able to end tenancies for renovations that are not substantial or do not require the rental unit to be vacant.
- Other proposed changes to the Residential Tenancy Act and the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act are outlined in the Province’s News Release.
- On March 8th the Province announced a new rent aid program called the British Columbia Housing Benefit. This program will help make rent more affordable for select households that do not qualify for other rental assistance programs. The benefit will be distributed to identified priority groups either by non-profit housing providers who will identify and select eligible applicants, or in some cases by BC Housing who will select eligible households from The Housing Registry database More information will be posted on this benefit as it becomes available.
- Federal Government Supports: refer to the second page of this document for information on federal supports during the pandemic.
There are a number of support options available to tenants facing financial difficulties. For more information, refer to the Key Information and Resources Document for Tenants during COVID-19.