Don’t ban evictions. Communication and co-operation critical to navigating this crisis.

Dear Minister Selena Robinson, Premier John Horgan, and Mayor Kennedy Stewart,

I write to you today about the potential consequences of banning evictions in BC. These are trying times that require compassion and compromise to ensure the health and safety of all BC residents. With everyone financially strained, difficult decisions will have to be made by families and property owners alike.

Many property owners have financed their homes to afford down payments on second or third properties. Owners have to settle property taxes, strata fees, insurance, and additional mortgages payments. In many circumstances, the rent does not cover all these costs, and the owners’ income supplement these high operating expenses. With many jobs lost, owners are finding themselves unable to afford to finance their homes, and subsidize the additional mortgages. This credit crunch was the importance of deferring mortgage payments. However, we have already heard that even though the big six banks have committed to providing relief, they are turning away the most vulnerable mortgagees, because of the higher risk of default.

When there are no consequences, people take advantage of the system. A tenant has no obligation or interest in a property. They can fluidly move about the city if they choose. An owner is settled with all the responsibility to maintain the commitments to keep that unit in good standing. If owners do not have the mechanisms to enforce co-operation with their tenants, some renters capable of paying rent will look at this as an opportunity to avoid payment. When the ban gets lifted, these same tenants may continue to abuse the goodwill of the province and force the owner to apply for an eviction through the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB). The RTB would become backed up from additional applications allowing tenants further time in the property not paying rent. The ban, coupled with the backlog, could lead to many months of lost rent without any recourse besides a small damage deposit.

Communication is critical in a crisis. Right now, finding new tenants is as challenging as finding new accommodation. Owners are in a position that they want to retain renters willing to fulfill their rental responsibilities. Instead of leaving owners exposed, tenants and owners need to be encouraged to talk to each other. If necessary, the two parties should try working out a payment plan that allows tenants unable to afford rent at the start of the month to pay incrementally, so that both sides can fulfill their obligations.

I ask that you do not ban evictions, instead encourage this alternate solution. A potential solution is advocating owners provide the option to split the rent into three payments on the 1st, 10th, and 20th of the month. Federal aid is on the way, and EI is about to kick in for many residents out of work. Offering a deferral while financial assistance is distributed, without penalizing owners, allows everyone to fulfill commitments and stay in the black.

Yours Sincerely,

Brandon Harding*

Vice President, Multi-Family & Land Development
604 691 6630
bharding@naicommercial.ca
*Personal Real Estate Corporation

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