The Vancouver Tenants’ Union is calling on the provincial government to reinstate an eviction ban as COVID-19 cases and restriction continue to increase.
There was an eviction ban for non-payment of rent brought in at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March but it expired in September. Landlord are required to set up a repayment plan for tenants who missed rent during that time and cannot evict as long as regular payments are made. Full repayment must be complete by July 10, 2021.
In an open letter, the tenants’ union said that while it supports recent COVID-19 restrictions, the new rules can create financial difficulties for renters.
“At a time when tenants are being asked to shelter in place to help flatten the curve, the provincial government must step up to ensure that we can effectively do so without worry of eviction,” the letter stated.
“Evictions inherently prevent sheltering-in-place and increase the indoor contacts that people will have as they attempt to find new, often temporary shelter.”
The union said about 15 per cent of rental households, or about 90,000, did not pay full rent during the non-payment eviction ban and thus must repay rent over the next several months.
“The extension of rent freeze demonstrated that the B.C. government is capable of taking immediate action to protect renters, and it should do so by extending the eviction ban as well,” the union stated.
“Going forward, this ban should also be implemented province-wide over the winter flu season in order to pre-emptively reduce transmission risk in other regions before they go the way of the Lower Mainland.”
The province is expected to announce new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 on Thursday (Nov. 19). These measures will follow record-breaking cases reported in recent days, as well as two consecutive days of double-digit deaths.
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