Rental Management Alert: British Columbia’s COVID-19 Response for Landlords and Tenants

British Columbia’s COVID-19 Response for Landlords and Tenants


Alex J. Chang, Associate
Phone:  604-685-1255



The economic fallout from COVID-19 has put massive financial pressures on those in the rental market. On March 26, 2020, the BC provincial government announced its response to COVID-19 for landlords and tenants. These changes include:

    1. Rental supplements for tenants whose employment or income has been disrupted by the crisis of up to $500 per month, which would be paid directly to their landlords. This is in addition to other income assistance programs being provided by the various levels of government.
    2. Halting evictions by ensuring a landlord may not issue a new notice to end a tenancy, except in very limited circumstances. New notices to end tenancies may not be issued for unpaid rent or owner use of the rental unit. Notices may only be issues in exceptional circumstances that generally relate to health and safety. Existing orders and writs for possession issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch are also halted, except in the same exception circumstances related to health and safety.
    3. Freezing annual rent increases that were set to begin as of April 1, 2020, and moving forward.
    4. 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.
    5. Restricting methods for serving notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no personal service and allowing email).
    6. Allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19. For example, landlords may limit the number of people in laundry rooms or close gyms, etc.

The government has made it clear that tenants are still liable to pay rent and should do so to the extent they can. Tenants that do not pay rent or reach an agreement with their landlords will be able to avoid eviction for now. However, tenants that want to avoid eviction or judgements against them after this crisis passes should apply for government assistance and reach an agreement with their landlords.

No specific economic assistance was offered for landlords aside from the Premier’s request to lenders that mortgage payments be deferred. However, many in the industry have pointed out that even a deferred payment will be subject to compound interest.

These changes are very recent, and more details are still being released. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to seek legal advice on their current situation and how these changes may affect them.

WHAT WE DO:  Lesperance Mendes has been advising tenants and landlords on rental property matters.  For more information on how we can assist you in your strata matter, contact Paul G Mendes, Partner at 604-685-4894 or by email at or Alex J. Chang at 604-685-1255 at

THIS ARTICLE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE:  This article provides general information and should not be relied upon without independent legal advice with respect to the specific facts of your case.