Saskatchewan landlords face financial trouble, call on province to lift eviction ban

The Saskatchewan Landlord Association says the eviction ban put in place on March 26 is creating financial trouble for landlords.
The Saskatchewan Landlord Association says the eviction ban put in place on March 26 is creating financial trouble for landlords. Mark Taylor / The Canadian Press

The Saskatchewan Landlord Association is calling on the government to end its eviction ban, put in place to protect tenants unable to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic.

Landlords are not allowed evict tenants under the ban, which came into effect on March 26.

With Phase 4.1 of the province’s reopen plan underway and Phase 4.2 just around the corner, SLA executive officer Cameron Choquette said it’s time to lift the ban.

Read more: Saskatchewan association concerned about impact of eviction ban on small landlords

“Since the eviction ban began, we’re just over $30 million arrears due to tenants not paying their rent. The ban remains in place in its entirety and what we are advocating for is to change that now that the economy is reopened,” Choquette said.

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Choquette said the association met with Saskatchewan Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan to address the issue on June 12.

“This situation is becoming quite dire so our members are really looking for some changes to the eviction or it be lifted entirely,” Choquette said.

Choquette said the discussions with Morgan have gone well, but at this point there is no commitment from province.

“We are starting to look at all of that in the context of the reopen Saskatchewan program so we don’t have specific dates or timelines, but we are hearing landlords,” Morgan said.

Read more: Coronavirus: Saskatchewan suspends evictions during state of emergency

“We want to make sure we don’t do something that jeopardizes tenant’s ability to maintain their housing. We are working on things and listening a lot right now.”

Choquette said the association is running out of time, and needs some sort of change before it’s too late.

“If the ban continues to go through the summer members of ours and other landlords across the province will be forced to sell their properties, forced to declare bankruptcy or take their keys to the bank and foreclose their property,” Choquette said.

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“A lot of landlords chose not to defer mortgages and property taxes because it simply kicks the cash flow problem down the road and is quite costly in the long run.”

He said without rental income and tenants deliberately holding rent, landlords don’t have the revenue to pay mortgages and property taxes.

According to the government order, tenants who can’t pay their rent due to the pandemic are expected to pay in full once the state of emergency is over.

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Saskatchewan suspends non-urgent evictions – Mar 26, 2020