The province announced on Wednesday a lease freeze, expulsion stop and approximately $500 a month in support for individuals who have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic. One economic expert thinks more can be done, and some occupants are still unsure of their future.
Jaylen Bastos said he was delighted to hear of new defenses for B.C. tenants during the coronavirus pandemic.
He may need them.
Bastos, 25, rents a suite in Vancouver’s Kitsilano area with 2 roommates for $2,767 per month.
The full-time student was working as a rock climbing up trainer, a manager at a marijuana dispensary and as a freelance web designer, now all of those gigs have dried up. His roomies got laid off too.
They could not make April’s rent. Bastos stated he offered to pay the property owner his third of the money however was turned down. The property owner desired a minimum of 2 thirds, which Bastos did not have.
” I desire to pay but simply can’t manage to,” Bastos said. “It’s a state of severe stress and chaos.”
On Wednesday, the province announced a suspension of evictions, a freeze on lease increases and approximately $500 a month for 3 months to help tenants make ends meet and keep their homes for the duration of the provincial COVID-19 emergency.
But Bastos still has concerns: how quick can he get that support? How easy will it be? And where will he live next?
Other renters and supporters are mostly supportive of brand-new procedures, but some state more are needed.
‘ An alarming circumstance’
Derek White, 46, said he would have been OK for April but he didn’t believe he ‘d be able to make May rent without assistance.
White was handling a little restaurant until he was laid off last Monday. A few days later, he stated, the landlord of his three-storey walk-up in Vancouver’s West End slid notes under everybody’s doors advising them rent was due on April 1 and any coming lease boosts would still apply.
” It just appeared they weren’t taking into account those … who remained in more of an alarming circumstance; there’s senior, there are people with health injuries that aren’t able to have much of an income,” White said. “It simply appeared to include insult to injury.”
White said he’s now in better shape for May thanks to the province’s brand-new steps and federal Work Insurance modifications.
” I can actually pay my lease, pay my costs, and really have a little bit of cash left over to consume,” White stated.
‘ They’re going to be able to stay in their houses’
Holly Popenia, a legal representative with Community Legal Help Society, a non-profit law company for marginalized neighborhoods, said her group was getting lots of calls from occupants fearing the pandemic and economic crisis might cost them their houses.
” They’re going to have the ability to stay in their homes at this time where … every level of government and every physician who can speak is informing them to stay in their homes,” Popenia said.
Alex Hemingway, an economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, stated he’s pleased evictions are on hold and a rent freeze remains in place however added the announced $500 per month subsidy is little change for some cities with sky-high rents, including Vancouver.
” What we need to be considering is in fact increasing the levels of these advantages,” Hemingway stated.
” We have the financial capability to make sure everybody is looked after and so I believe our immediate top priorities must be to get cash out the door to people who require it as quickly as possible and at appropriate levels.”
The province, he included, also requires to guarantee sufficient housing for individuals with disabilities and homeless individuals who are especially at danger throughout the pandemic.