B.C. renters told to apply for subsidy even if landlords tell them not to

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The B.C. government is assuring renters they should apply for the B.C. Temporary Rental Supplement even if their landlord is telling them not to.

“We strongly urge all eligible renters in illegal suites to apply for the temporary rental supplement,” Minister of Housing Selina Robinson said in a statement.

“Landlords can be assured that BC Housing will not share their information with any other government bodies.”

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This comes as more examples are emerging of landlords telling their tenants not to apply.

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Christina, whose last name is not being reported due to concerns of retribution from her landlord, posted her story online.

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In it, she says she lost her job due to the COVID-19 crisis and qualifies for the supplement. But when she asked her landlord if she should apply she was told not to.

“She talked to her accountant and decided I shouldn’t apply after all. She wouldn’t tell me the reason. She offered to decrease my rent by $30 a month, which really isn’t enough to offset the cost and I would still have to move out,” Christina writes.

“I can’t imagine what could cause a landlord to refuse this application. This whole thing is leaving a really bad taste in my mouth. Is there anything I can do, or at least have enough leverage to ensure that I get my deposit back at the very least?”

What Christina ultimately did was apply for the supplement. Her landlord has still not filled out their side of the application to cover the rent for her Burnaby apartment.

Landlord BC says they are aware of situations like this and are advising all landlords in the province to fill out the forms to ensure renters can receive the benefit.

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BC Housing is administering the program and the money goes directly to the landlords.

Eligible individual renters can receive up to $300 and eligible couples or families receive up to $500.

“Even if it’s an illegal suite the landlord should complete their part of the applications,” said Landlord BC CEO David Hutniak.

“BC Housing is not reporting anything to local governments or the provincial government.”

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