If you’re a tenant (or landlord) in British Columbia, there are some things you should know about the rules surrounding rentals right now. We’re going to share some information from the Government of BC on the state of rent increases in BC during the state of emergency, and what else you should know if you’re renting during this time. 

Can rent payments increase?  

During the provincial state of emergency, your rent cannot increase.  

This means that if your rent was set to increase on April 1, 2020, you are only responsible for paying your existing, pre-increase amount.  

If you have given your landlord post-dated cheques, you can request that they be returned so you can issue new ones (with the appropriate payment). 

Note: A landlord can give a notice for rent increase before or during a state of emergency; however, the increase will not come into effect until the state of emergency is over.  

If you’re a tenant, it may be helpful to share this information with your landlord to make sure they are aware of these changes.

What if I already paid for a rent increase? 

If your landlord has already collected the increased amount for a rent increase that went into effect during the state of emergency, you can deduct the additional amount you paid (the difference between the increased payment and your normal payment) from future rent payments.  

What if I can’t pay my rent? 

If you’re under financial stress, you may find BC Housing’s BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program (BC-TRS) helpful. We’ve written a blog post on how to apply, with some highlighted information. 

While you should continue to pay rent whenever possible, you should also know that the BC Government has announced that evictions for non-payment of rent will not be enforced during the state of emergency.  

If you are struggling to make rental payments, some of the Provincial or Federal support programs may provide you with some financial support. We’ve written blog posts on some of these resources which include information on what each financial help is, eligibility, and how to apply (find them in the next section).  

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Look through all of our COVID-19 related information on our website.       

This is an evolving situation and information is changing all the time, so go to the source for updated information.     

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.