03/26/20 MLA Update and Housing Info

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, my constituency office is receiving a large number of questions and requests for information from people in our community. And so, we’re going to be putting out regular communications and update you with any new information we receive.

If you cannot find the information you need from the below links and available phone lines, you can reach out to my office at Judy.Darcy.MLA@leg.bc.ca or by phone at 604-775-2101 and my staff will do their best to assist you.

We have also put together a government and community resource guide that you can access here. This guide includes contact information for local government and resources, and links to provincial and federal government resources, like applying for EI, and will be updated frequently.

I want to thank each and every one of you for doing your part to support our community by staying at home and helping to flatten the curve. The stories I am hearing of people in New Westminster coming together to support their friends, neighbours, and loved ones are truly inspiring. I know we will all get through this together.

MLA Judy Darcy

To support people and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province is introducing a new temporary rental supplement, halting evictions and freezing rents, among other actions.

The new rental supplement will help households by offering up to $500 a month towards their rent, building on federal and provincial financial supports already announced for British Columbians facing financial hardship.

The funds will support renters experiencing a loss of income by helping them pay their rent and will be paid directly to landlords on their behalf, to ensure landlords continue to receive rental income during the pandemic. Benefiting people with low to moderate incomes, this supplement will be available to renters who are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs.

The Province is implementing a number of additional measures to keep people housed and protect their health. The full list of immediate measures includes:
* The new temporary rent supplement will provide up to $500 per month, paid directly to landlords.

* Halting evictions by ensuring a landlord may not issue a new notice to end tenancy for any reason. However, in exceptional cases where it may be needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the property, landlords will be able to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a hearing.

* Halting the enforcement of existing eviction notices issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns. The smaller number of court ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government.

* Freezing new annual rent increases during the state of emergency.

* Preventing landlords from accessing rental units without the consent of the tenant (for example, for showings or routine maintenance), except in exceptional cases where it is needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the unit.

* Restricting methods that renters and landlords can use to serve notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no personal service and allowing email).

* Allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.

To further support renters and landlords, the Residential Tenancy Branch will implement several additional actions, including adjourning and rescheduling hearings in situations where people need additional time to prepare and extending timelines for filing applications for dispute resolution.

Read more here. New information about how to apply will be sent out shortly.