The rules and issues around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and information changes consistently. Please take note of when our content was written and always go to the sources we’ve provided for the most current guidance.
BC Housing has made a new financial support program, the BC Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) program, available to low and moderate-income renters who have lost income because of COVID-19.
What is the support? For how long?
The supplement is available to tenants for April, May, and June. You do not need to pay the supplement back. If you qualify for the program, you will receive:
- $300 per month for eligible singles and couples.
- $500 per month for eligible families with dependents.
The supplement is paid directly to the landlord by direct deposit (you will both receive a receive an email with confirmation that the benefit has been paid).
Who is eligible?
To be eligible, you must be a tenant in at least one of the following groups:
- You must be receiving or eligible for Employment Insurance (EI); OR
- You must be receiving or eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB); OR
- You must have recently experienced a 25% or greater reduction in monthly employment income.
And additionally, all of the following must be true:
- In 2019, you had an annual gross household income of less than:
- $74,150, for singles and couples without dependents,
- $113,040 for households with dependents.
- You must pay more than 30% of your reduced gross monthly income towards your rent.
- You must rent your primary residence in BC.
- The unit must be covered under the Residential Tenancy Act, the Manufactured Home Act, or the Cooperative Association Act.
- Your rent can’t be subsidized by any other government program. (I.e. subsidized housing, or other rent supplements such as Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters (SAFER) or the Rental Assistance Program.)
Some additional eligibility notes:
- If you’re self-employed, you can still be eligible if you meet all of the eligibility requirements.
- People who have roommates can still be eligible for the supplement if you meet all of the requirements (this includes the requirement that rent must be greater than 30% of your income). Please note that roommates must apply individually.
- Secondary suites (i.e. suites that do not comply with zoning and bylaw requirements or that haven’t been registered with the city) are still eligible.
How to apply to the BC-TRS:
The application is made in two parts. It must be:
- Started by the tenant, and
- Completed by the landlord
For the tenant:
Fill out BC Housing’s application form (this was a temporary assistance program and the application form is no longer available). If you don’t have access to a computer, you can call their toll-free number: 1-877-757-2577 and BC Housing can send you a paper application.
You will need to have the following information ready (you cannot pause or save the document midway through if you’re completing the application online):
- Proof of address (i.e. driver’s license, utility bill, paystub with address, etc.).
- Proof of monthly rent (i.e. signed tenancy agreement, rent receipt, etc.).
- Your landlord’s details and contact information, including email address.
- The email address is how BC Housing will contact your landlord for the second portion of the application, so accuracy is important.
- For every household member who is over the age of 19:
- ID such as a driver’s licence, passport etc.
- Proof of 2019 income or a letter from your employer.
- Proof of 2020 income loss related to COVID-19 AND proof of receipt of Employment Insurance, Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Record of employment, etc.
BC Housing does state that they may accept other documents that support your identity, where you live and that you have lost income as a result of COVID-19 as proof. If you don’t have the documentation they’ve requested, submit the best information you have, and they may reach out to you for more information.
Once the tenant has submitted the application, it will be reviewed and assessed for eligibility. After that process is complete, the landlord completes their portion of the application.
For the landlord:
You will be contacted by the email your tenant provides (keep an eye on your inbox).
Landlords will be asked to confirm details on the following:
- Rental address,
- Monthly rent amount.
You will be asked to provide your mailing address and banking information to receive payment by direct deposit.
Once the landlord has completed their portion of the application, both the tenant and the landlord will receive a final confirmation email.
What else to know:
- If you’re a tenant, it’s important to let your landlord know you’re applying for the program (so they know to keep an eye on their email).
- If you’re a tenant, know that your landlord will only be contacted if you meet the eligibility requirements, and none of your income information will be shared with them.
- If you’re a tenant who has already paid April’s rent and you are eligible, you can still receive the April payment (and work with your landlord to determine whether the amount will be refunded to you, or applied to your next rental payment).
Did you like this? You might like these posts too!
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit: what you need to know
- COVID-19: tips for apartment residents
- COVID-19: how to request a grant under BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund
Where do we fit in?
Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.
About Consumer Protection BC:
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.