CTV News Vancouver: Landlords and tenants unite to demand greater rent relief from government

Posted May 1, 2020

More than one in three renters across Canada fears they won't make their rent payment tomorrow, and many landlords are bracing for the economic impact as personal finances tighten under the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly 35 per cent of Canadian tenants said they can't cover rent for May, according to ACORN Canada, an organization representing low- and moderate-income families. Renters said they are depleting their savings or turning to other sources to cover housing costs.
"They had to ask for family loans or for a high interest loan," said ACORN’s Alejandra Ruiz. "This is not OK, especially when we have a pandemic, and you are in debt."
Calling for greater rent relief alongside their tenants, LandlordBC said a monthly supplement of $300 to $500 is not enough given housing costs in this province.
Instead, the organization that represents property owners and managers called on the provincial government to raise the monthly supplement to $750 for renters without dependents and to $1,000 for families with children.
"We have many, many nervous landlords," said LandlordBC CEO, David Hutniak.
If tenants can't make rent, Hutniak said, many landlords won't be able to pay their mortgages.
He estimated two thirds of B.C. landlords are of the "mom and pop variety." They don't own multiple units and don't have deep pockets, he said, adding that many landlords don't qualify for payment deferrals.
"They're really vulnerable," said Hutniak. "Many people who have basement suites are landlords, not because they want to be landlords. They're landlords because they needed that rental income to qualify to get their mortgage to purchase their home."
In Victoria, acupuncturist Sammy Long had to close her practice due to the pandemic. As a result, she's scraping by on savings. She said a larger rent subsidy would make a difference.
"That would relieve a lot of this stress just to cover basic needs during this time," she told CTV News.
LandlordBC said it also expects a significant jump in the number of tenants who won't be able to pay rent on the first of the month.
Article by St. John Alexander for CTV News Vancouver


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