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.
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).
Did you like this? You might like these posts too!
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit: what you need to know
- What else you should know about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
- How to apply for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers
- COVID-19: how to request a grant under BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund
- How to apply for BC Housing’s BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program
- Under financial stress? Watch out for loans that ask for a fee upfront
Look through all of our COVID-19 related information on our website.
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.
10 thoughts on “Are rent increases allowed right now? ”
What could happen if owner decides to sell the apartment building during Covid 19? Can the new owners raise the rent?
Hi Susan, from my understanding, a landlord can give a notice for rent increase during the state of emergency but the rent increase will not come into effect until the state of emergency is over. For more information, you may want to contact the Residential Tenancy Branch.
What about small businesses, in this case, a staff of three including the owner, the new landlord whats an increase from $10.00 sq ft to $15.00 sq ft. Its a 2 bay automobile repair shop.
Hi Philip, I don’t have the answer to your question at this time, but I would recommend contacting the Residential Tenancy Branch. I’m sure they will be able to answer your question!
Once the EMERGENCY is over can they increase it for the remainder of the lease?
Hi Anna, I don’t have the answer to your question at this time, but I would recommend contacting the Residential Tenancy Branch. I’m sure they will be able to answer your question!
Now that the state of emergency is over there still isn’t anymore money coming in as there are still restrictions and people still don’t have money for rental increases. It’s nice that the NDP is saying IF re elected they will freeze increases in 2021 but that won’t help us struggling to pay the rental increase that come into effect December 01, 2020
Blame the residential board they made the dissuasion on 30th of July 2020. Even if it is a state of emergency it will be an increase . The owners made it sure that the increase will be on the 1st of December 2020. So we have to pay 2.6 % instead of 1.4 % . They screwed us royally.
I own my home, on First Nations Land, but lease the lot. The Band reviews our “Base Rent” every five years (due for review 2022). Our “Park Management”, not the Band, has increased our “additional rent” by $14/mo in 2020, and now in 2021, we are facing another “additional rent” 18.80/mo. Parkbridge Lifestyles Community Inc are saying they can do what they want because we are on First Nations Land, then they are trying to say Provincial Rules don’t apply here, then they are trying to say this is not actually “rent”, even though it is referred to as “Additional Rent” in the Lease and all communications since 2003!!! Do the same rules NOT apply to First Nations Land????
Hello and thank you for reaching out to us. When it comes to lease/rent issues, you may want to talk to BC’s Residential Tenancy Branch. You can gather more information on their website or utilize their online dispute resolution platform. Here is the link to their website for more information. I hope they will be able to point you in the right direction.