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Renters' COVID-19 supplement not enough, says B.C. landlords

Apartment building. (via File photo)

An organization representing landlords in B.C. is calling on the provincial government to increase its rent supplement program for tenants unable to pay rent due to the pandemic.

With a moratorium in place on evictions, the province is paying landlords between $300 and $500 a month for impacted renters.

Landlord B.C. says that simply isn’t enough and should be bumped up to $750 per month for renters with no dependents, and $1,000 per month for renters with dependents.

“The current benefit amount is inadequate for a vast majority of renters relative to the monthly rent they are responsible for and, furthermore, the selection criteria is in our view leaving many renters behind,” the group said in a statement Tuesday.

The group also wants the government to remove the program’s income test and extend it through to August 2020.

Landlord B.C. says data showing that more than 40 per cent of tenants in Vancouver spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent shows just how big a gap there is between the supplement and market rental rates. 

The group placed some blame on the federal government for not stepping up to the plate with its own rental supplement.

“So, it’s up to you, BC Government. It is now more critical than ever that the BC government act now and with purpose to enhance its rent supplement program...The stakes are very high.”