We want to keep you updated on the Government rules and protocols as well as our policies and implementation of those new protocols.   

Office Policies:

Below you will see the steps that we have taken as well as links for additional information.  

  • We have been sending out messages to all residents regularly with updated information.   

  • We have created this website page  

  • We understand that now more than ever, every dollar counts. Therefore, we have waived all late fees for the foreseeable future.  

  • We are offering payment plans to those who are unable to pay their rent in full and on time. Please contact your property manager to request the payment plan documentation.  

We ask that all of our clients be cautious about how their actions affect others. Right now, we all need to work together, be patient, considerate and understanding. Many owners are carrying costs for tenants where they can until the tenants can afford to pay them back. On the other hand, many owners are also struggling to make ends meet. We implore you to not take advantage of this situation. Please be kind and understanding to others.  

Tenants, we ask that you pay your rent in full if you can. If you can’t please pay what you can. Our landlords are at the mercy of the financial institutions that have not halted all mortgage payments, or if they have, interest is still accruing on those mortgages. Many of our landlords have also been laid off. Please also don’t take advantage of the subsidies if you do not need them. Many of our tenants are truly desperate and in need. Please save those funds for them.  

Owners, please be patient and understanding for your tenants who can’t pay their rent in full or on time. If you can afford to help by temporally carry the costs we ask that you do what you can.  

The government has also frozen rent increases from April 1st, 2019 to December 1st 2019. This means that if you have received a rent increase dated April 1st it is not effective until December 1st, 2019. We have recommended that owners not activate the rental increases on rentals unless they are very under market. All rent increases will be reviewed with the owners after the pandemic passes. However, due to the new NDP BC Government, we expect a government order that any all rent increases will be frozen from now until the end of 2020. 

We ask that all of you activate your Buildium accounts as soon as possible if you have not already done so. Tenants, we ask that you reconsider using Buildium to pay your rent if you are currently using cheques. This is because the virus can live on the cheques for days afterwards and some of our staff who must handle the cheques have compromised immune systems. One of them is also pregnant. Therefore, we will be changing the way that we process cheques. By submitting them directly to the bank to process, we do have concerns that there may be a few errors.  If this does happen, please let us know immediately and we will contact the bank to have the issue corrected. Again, I will ask that those who are using cheques convert to Buildium at least until this pandemic is over. 

Owners, If you are not already moved over to direct deposit we request that you speak to our accounting department and organize that. We also ask that you activate your Buildium account as soon as possible in order to ensure efficient communication and to access your online statements.  

Those of you who live in properties with multiple suites; please be aware that we've been instructed to restrict common areas. Therefore for your safety and the safety of the other residents, we ask that only two people enter a laundry room at any one time and maintain at least 6 feet distance apart, or whatever is allowed for the room. Please restrict the number of people in the elevator to one person or one household. We also ask that there be no visitors allowed to enter the building. We are sorry to implement these restrictions and hope that all residents understand that it is strictly for your safety and the safety of the other residents. 

 

 

Government Policies: October 21, 2020

The Province has lifted many of the pandemic restrictions on residential tenancies but we expect that some will be reintroduced as the number of infected rises again. 

The following tenancy laws are effective immediately:

  • A landlord can now issue a Notice to End Tenancy for any legal reason including non-payment of rent.
  • Landlords with existing orders for eviction can take them to the courts beginning July 2, 2020, for enforcement and can enforce a writ order effective immediately.
  • Landlords can enter a rental suite with 24-hour notice and do not need the tenant’s consent. They are expected to follow health guidelines like physical distancing, cleaning and wearing masks when appropriate.
  • The change also allows for personal service of documents to resume.
  • Landlords’ ability to restrict access to common spaces for COVID-19 related health reasons remains.

The Order dated March 30, 2020, and the Practice Directive issued March 30, 2020, are no longer in effect as of June 24, but may still be applicable to events that occurred prior to June 24. Click here to read the Director’s Order dated June 24, 2020 and the Practice Directive for more information. Talk to your landlord and make sure they are aware of the changes that have been made. 


Rental assistance benefits

Tenants facing difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis should consider all assistance that is available to them, including:


Rent repayment plan

To give tenants a reasonable timeframe to pay back any rent they owe from the specified period of March 18, 2020 to August 17, 2020, the Province has introduced a repayment framework.

  • A landlord is required to give their tenants a repayment plan for unpaid rent or utilities due during the specified period of March 18, 2020 to August 17, 2020
  • If the landlord and the tenant entered into a prior agreement for unpaid rent or utilities it can be replaced with a new agreement, by either the landlord or tenant

A repayment plan should not be issued until August 18, 2020 (after the specified period ends on August 17, 2020).


Rent increases

A landlord can give a notice for a rent increase. The rent increase will not come into effect until December 1, 2020.

  • For example, if your rent was set to increase on April 1, 2020, continue to pay your existing, pre-increase amount until December 1, 2020
  • If a tenant has given their landlord post-dated cheques, the tenant should request that the cheques are returned to them and they can issue new cheques

If a landlord does collect the increased amount during the period that rent increases are not allowed, the tenant can deduct the additional amount from future rent payments.


Evictions for unpaid rent​

The ban on issuing evictions for non-payment of rent is over as of August 18, 2020. This means that tenants must pay rent in full on the day it is due or they can be evicted.

A landlord may issue a Notice to End Tenancy for unpaid rent or utilities if:

  • The tenant failed to pay rent that was due before March 18, 2020

or

  • The tenant fails to pay full rent due after August 17, 2020 (for most renters that would be September 1, 2020)

A landlord must not issue a Notice to End Tenancy for unpaid rent or utilities that came due during the specified period of March 18, 2020, to August 17, 2020, unless the landlord has given the tenant a repayment plan for the unpaid amount and the tenant has defaulted on the repayment plan.

A landlord cannot charge a late fee for any unpaid rent during the specified period of March 18, 2020, to August 17, 2020.

Late payment of rent and non-payment of rent during the specified period of March 18, 2020, to August 17, 2020, are not considered "cause" for eviction.


Restrictions on the one month Notice to End Tenancy for Cause

Rent or utilities that were due and payable by the tenant during the specified period of March 18 to August 17, 2020 is called "affected rent".

A landlord may not issue a Notice to End Tenancy for Cause for the following reasons:

  • One or more payments of the affected rent are late
  • The affected rent being unpaid is what put the landlord's property at significant risk
  • The lawful right or interest of the landlord is the right or interest to receive the affected rent
  • A breach of a material term where the breach is the non-payment of the affected rent
  • The tenant did not pay a monetary order for the affected rent

Accessing rental units 

A landlord may enter a rental unit for any of the following reasons by providing the tenant with proper notice

  • Conducting move-in and move-out condition inspections
  • Making regular repairs
  • Conducting a monthly condition inspection
  • Showing the unit to prospective tenants
  • Hosting an open house

Physical distancing and proper cleaning protocols should continue to be followed.


Common areas

A landlord can reasonably restrict or schedule the use of common or shared areas to support physical distancing and prevent the spread of the virus. 

  • This applies to both tenants and guests of the rental building
  • A landlord must not prevent or interfere with the access to the tenant’s rental unit

Temporary restrictions on access to common areas are considered reasonable if they are made:

  • to protect the health, safety or welfare of the landlord, the tenant, an occupant or a guest of the residential property due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • to comply with an order of a federal, British Columbia, regional or municipal government authority, including orders made by the Provincial Health Officer or under the Emergency Program Act; or
  • to follow the guidelines of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control or the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Reasonable restrictions may include:

  • Closing access to gyms, recreation rooms, pools and hot tubs where physical distancing cannot be maintained at all times
  • Limiting use of elevators to 2-3 passengers at a time
  • Limiting the number of residents in laundry facilities at a time. Consider creating a laundry schedule for managing the number of residents in the room (landlords should make all reasonable efforts to allow tenants to have safe access to laundry rooms).

It is not reasonable to require tenants to quarantine for 14 days after a trip locally such as to the store or doctor.

If a service or facility is restricted in response to an Order of a public health official during the COVID-19 pandemic, tenants will not receive a rent reduction.


Cleaning

We are doing our best to ensure that cleaning is stepped up in all of our buildings. That being said it is impossible for us to wipe down every surface in between each person's interaction in high traffic areas. Therefore, we ask our residents to assist us to ensure the health and safety of themselves and other residents by wiping down all surfaces with disinfectant before and after use. It is estimated that the virus may remain on surfaces from a couple of hours to a few days. Increased frequency of cleaning for regularly touched surfaces will help slow transmission in combination with individual hygiene and physical distancing efforts. Regularly review up-to-date information on cleaning procedures from the BC Centre for Disease Control and other reliable sources.

  • Increase frequency of cleaning of high-touch areas
  • Regular household and commercial cleaning  products are effective against COVID-19
  • Do not mix bleach and ammonia or other cleaners
  • The federal government maintains a list of hard surface disinfectants that may be used for COVID-19
  • Follow product instructions for dilution, contact time and safe use
  • All visibly dirty surfaces should be cleaned BEFORE disinfecting (unless otherwise stated on the product)
  • Cleaning staff should wear the regular Personal Protective Equipment required for the hazards normally encountered in their course of work (e.g., working with chemicals) and use disposable materials (e.g. single-use wipes or, paper towel) or properly launder fabric cleaning cloths
  • COVID-19 Precautions for Multi-unit Residential Buildings with detailed information on cleaning and other precautions

Emergency orders

On March 18, 2020, a provincial state of emergency was declared to support the province-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 30, 2020, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General issued Emergency Order #M089 (PDF, 296KB) allowing changes to tenancy laws to protect renters from losing their homes. 

On June 24, 2020, Emergency Order #M195 (PDF, 691KB) was issued, rescinding the order dated March 30, 2020. Emergency Order #M195 was later repealed as of July 30, 2020 when the COVID-19 (Residential Tenancy Act and Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act) Regulation took effect.

Director's Orders and Practice Directives

On March 30, 2020, the Residential Tenancy Branch issued a temporary order that allowed for service of documents by email in limited circumstances during the state of emergency.

On June 24, 2020, a new Director's Order was issued, rescinding the order dated March 30, 2020. This new order continues to be in effect until the end of the state of emergency. 

The Resident Tenancy Branch also issued a Practice Directive to arbitrators regarding the Director's Orders, changing time limits for landlords and tenants affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. This Practice Directive lapsed at midnight on June 24, 2020.

The Director's Order and accompanying Practice Directive issued March 30, 2020 are no longer in effect but still may be applicable to events that occurred prior to June 24, 2020.

Enforcement of orders

All Residential Tenancy Branch orders can be enforced by the Courts.

 

 

Stay healthy! 

Century 21 Team