Tenant Support and Resources
Updated: September 18, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 18, 2020, the Province issued an emergency order allowing changes to tenancy laws to protect tenants from losing their homes as a result of the pandemic, this included a temporary moratorium on evictions. The moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent ended as of August 18, 2020. Some of the important details impacting tenants from the latest provincial COVID-19 and tenancies update (August 14, 2020) are summarized below:
- As of August 18, 2020 tenants can be evicted if they have not paid rent that was due before March 18, 2020 or if a tenant fails to pay rent in full the day it is due after August 18, 2020 (for most renters this would be September 1, 2020).
- Rent or utilities accumulated between March 18- August 17, 2020 is considered “affected rent”. Tenants cannot be evicted for arrears accumulated during this period but the tenant must repay the affected rent by July 10, 2021 through a repayment plan. A repayment plan template can be found here.
- Tenants can be evicted for failing to pay one or more installments from a valid repayment plan.
- The repayment plan must be made in writing, must state the amount owing and the amount that must be paid for each installment (for example, $200 each month) and must include four basic terms to be valid:
- the repayment period start date (ending on July 10, 2020; it cannot end earlier),
- the payments must be in equal installments,
- each installment must be paid on the same day that rent is due under the tenancy agreement,
- the date the first installment is due; this must be at least 30 days after the date the repayment plan is given to the tenant.
Note: Landlords and tenants can mutually agree to amend these terms to: extend the repayment period beyond July 10, 2020, to allow earlier installments to be a lesser amount than later installments, or to change the date the installments are due.
- A repayment plan must be hand delivered or sent by registered mail (not by email alone).
- A landlord can currently now give notice of a rent increase but rent increases will not come into effect until December 1, 2020. UPDATE: The maximum allowable rent increase for 2021 has been decreased from 2.6% in 2020 to 1.4% in 2021. Any rent increase notice served after September 2020 will comply with the new rates.
The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is available from March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020. Applicants can apply no later than December 2, 2020, for payments retroactive to within that period. The Government has announced changes that expand the eligibility requirements for Employment Insurance (EI) program and will transition people who have been receiving the CERB (and who meet the expanded eligibility requirements) to an EI program. More information is available on the Government of Canada website. To accommodate the transition, three new benefits have been introduced:
- The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who are self-employed (such as contract workers, workers in the gig economy etc.,) or who are not eligible for EI, still require income support and who are available and looking for work. This benefit will support Canadians whose income has dropped or not returned due to COVID-19.
- The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.
- The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week for people who are unable to work because they are caring for either children under 12 or dependents with disabilities who cannot attend care, daycare or school due to closures, or who cannot attend care for medical reasons. More details on how Canadians can get ready to apply will be available in the coming weeks at www.canada.ca/coronavirus.
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.