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Renters and landlords looking for more help with May rent due
VICTORIA -- With rent due on Friday, Landlord BC predicts there will be a spike in the number of renters who simply can’t pay their rent for the month of May.
David Hutniak is the CEO of the group that advocates for landlords. He says the provincial government’s recent rent supplement is generous, but more needs to be done.
“Now we feel there’s a real urgency here, that now the amount they’re providing is inadequate for many renters,” Hutniak said.
The province currently provides a supplement of $300 per month for households with no dependents, and $500 per month for those with dependents.
Hutniak thinks those benefits should increase to $750 and $1,000, respectively, and the benefit should be extended from the end of June through August.
“We just see May, June and beyond getting increasingly challenging for renters to pay their rent,” Hutniak says.
Sammy Long agrees. She is an acupuncturist who is now out of work because of the pandemic.
She’s grateful for emergency benefits she receives from Ottawa, as well as the existing $300 rental supplement from the province that she was approved for Tuesday, but she says even with that help, in Victoria’s expensive rental market, she may not be able to pay the rent in the long term.
“I’m looking forward to having that subsidy,” she says. “I feel like it could be quite a bit higher; $300 is normally only about a third of most peoples rent.”
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing issued a statement Wednesday, noting it’s continuing to monitor the impacts of COVID-19, including how long it lasts, and will do what it takes to support people getting through the pandemic together.