The week starts off with bad news. The Health Ministry clarifies new social gather rules that was imposed on the 7th of November. Amid the raising COVID-19 tension, the re-opening process has taken a step back. BC government official announces rent freeze that was supposed to end on December 1st, 2020 will continue until July 10th, 2021 under the Emergency Program Act.
Therefore, any rent increase negotiation and notice from the landlord are rendered useless and should be disregarded. The tenant will continue to pay their existing rent. To further complement the rent freeze, BC NDP promised a renter’s rebate of $400 a year for household with an income of up to $80,000 a year. They were election promises that will be fulfilled.
Selina Robinson, BC Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, explains why the rent freeze is extended: “We know many renters are still facing income loss and even the slightest increase in rent could be extremely challenging. For that reason, we are extending the freeze on rent increases to provide more security for renters during the pandemic.”
There are no updates on eviction policy. Landlords can evict their tenants for non-payment of rent and any outstanding rents will have to be repaid by July 2021. We could see the BC government re-implement the eviction ban, if a second wave is severe and the province locks down again.
The rent freeze made many tenants happy, but not so much for landlords. The lower mainland will be hit with a 12% increase in property tax next year, devalued property, increased insurance fee and maintenance fee. We are seeing another transfer of wealth that the BC NDP is doing.