Resources for Canadian Landlord and Tenants During the COVID-19 Outbreak

We understand that everyone who owns or rents a home has lots of questions right now.

Landlords may be wondering things like; what if my tenant loses their job and cannot pay rent? How will I ensure that I can pay my mortgage? What are my rights during this time? Can I evict my tenant if they cannot pay rent?

Tenants may want to know answers to questions like, will I be evicted if I cannot pay my rent on time? What happens if I lose my job and cannot pay rent? What are my rights? How is the government going to help me?

You’re not alone. Naborly is here to help you navigate this new emerging reality.

In this article you will find a breakdown of what the Canadian Public Sector is doing to financially assist Canadian Citizens, as well as what major financial institutions are doing to ease the financial stress this pandemic has had on their customers.

Public Sector Assistance: Federal

The Canadian Federal Government is taking action to make sure that the economy stays afloat during these unprecedented times. Part of that includes creating assistance programs for Tenants and Homeowners to make sure that people can continue to afford their cost of living.

Below you will find some government initiatives to make this crisis financially bearable for Canadians:

Mortgage Support

  • Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral.
  • Canada’s large banks have confirmed that this support will include up to a 6-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products. These targeted measures respond to immediate challenges being faced across the country and will help stabilize the Canadian economy.
  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements.
  • The Government, through CMHC, is providing increased flexibility for homeowners facing financial difficulties to defer mortgage payments on homeowner CMHC-insured mortgage loans. CMHC will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.

Employment Insurance (EI)

  • If you are sick, quarantined or have been directed to self-isolate, the government will waive the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

  • To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
  • Prior to April 6, individuals who are without work and are eligible for EI can continue to apply for Employment Insurance.

Increasing Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

  • The government is providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family.
  • This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.

Registered Retirement Income Funds

  • The government is reducing the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.

Canada Student Loans

  • Effective March 30, the government is placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time.

Enhancing the Reaching Home initiative

  • The government continues to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative.
  • The funding could be used for a range of needs such as purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.

Wage Subsidies

  • 10% Wage Subsidy: To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.
  • 75% Wage Subsidy: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
  • Interaction of the 75% and 10% Subsidies: On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a temporary 10% wage subsidy. For employers that are eligible for both the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the 10% wage subsidy for a period, any benefit from the 10% wage subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period would generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy in that same period.

Tax Filing Deadline Extensions

  • The return filing date for individuals will be deferred until June 1st 2020. Individuals who are to receive benefits under the GSTC or Canada Child Benefits are encouraged to file their returns timely to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.
  • For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.
  • For businesses, the CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until August 31, 2020.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.

Tax Payment Deferrals

  • The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all taxpayers to defer, until August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
  • For businesses, the CRA will allow the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

Additional Tax Information

  • Outreach Program: Through this service, the Canada Revenue Agency offers help to individuals to better understand their tax obligations and to obtain the benefits and credits to which they are entitled to, and will be accessible online.

Access to Credit

  • The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses. This will be an effective tool for helping viable Canadian businesses remain resilient during these very uncertain times. BDC and EDC are cooperating with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation and tourism. The near term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector will also be increased through Farm Credit Canada.

Student Loans

  • A moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans. Effective March 30, we are placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

Public Sector Assistance: Provincial and Territorial

Alberta

For Landlords:

Utility Payment Deferral

  • Residential customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider.
  • This program is available to Albertans who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19. For example, those who have lost their employment or had to leave work to take care of an ill family member.
  • Call your utility provider directly to arrange for a 90-day deferral on all payments.
  • Learn more about the 90-day utility payment deferral.

Banks and credit unions

  • ATB Financial customers: Personal banking customers can apply for a deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit and mortgages for up to 6 months.
  • Alberta credit unions: Credit union members will have access to a variety of programs and solutions designed to ease difficulties with loan payments and short-term cash flow.
  • Contact your credit union to work out a plan for your personal situation.

For Tenants:

Eligible working Albertans can receive a one-time emergency isolation support payment of $1,146 if they:

  • Experienced total or significant loss of income as a result of having to self-isolate, or are the sole caregiver of a dependent who is self-isolating, and have no other source of compensation, such as workplace sick leave benefits or federal employment insurance benefits.

Student loans repayment deferral

  • We are implementing a six-month, interest free moratorium on Alberta student loan payments for all Albertans in the process of repaying these loans.
  • Alberta Student Loan repayments will be paused for 6 months, beginning March 30, 2020.
  • Interest will not accrue during this period. This mirrors the approach of the Canada Student Loans Program.Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.
  • Borrowers may continue making payments during this period if they choose and this will not affect their eligibility to receive the benefit.

British Columbia

For Landlords:

  • New temporary rental supplement Providing up to $500 per month, which will be paid directly to landlords, ensuring they continue to receive rental income during the pandemic;
  • preserving the ability for landlords to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for permission to issue a notice to end tenancy in exceptional circumstances, for example when the safety of landlord or other tenants is at risk;
  • allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19; and
  • restricting methods of service for Residential Tenancy Branch disputes or notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no in-person service) and allowing service by email.

For Tenants:

  • Halting new and active evictions, except for exceptional circumstances, so that no one is evicted because of COVID-19 and people can remain in their homes during this crisis;
  • helping renters pay a portion of their rent each month through a new temporary rental supplement of up to $500 per month, building on other federal and provincial financial supports;
  • freezing annual rent increases to ensure that landlords cannot apply an annual rent increase for existing tenants during the COVID-19 crisis;
  • supporting tenants in social distancing and self-isolation by providing them the right to prevent landlords from accessing rental units without the tenant’s consent (for example, for showings or routine maintenance), except in exceptional cases where access is needed to respond to urgent health and safety concerns or to prevent undue damage to the unit;
  • restricting methods of service for Residential Tenancy Branch disputes or notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no in-person service) and allowing service by email; and
  • allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.

Manitoba

  • The Province of Manitoba has created a document for Landlords and Tenants to review that includes many tenancy related questions during the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can access this Document HERE.
  • You can also review the Residential Tenancies Branch website to learn more about your Landlord and Tenancy Rights and responsibilities.

New Brunswick

  • Recommends accessing mental health support if you are feeling anxious or stressed as a result of COVID-19.
  • Essential workers will not be required to pay double child care fees.
  • The New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit.
  • A one-time income benefit of $900 is available for workers or self-employed people residing in New Brunswick who have lost their job due to the state of emergency. The benefit will help to bridge the gap between when a person lost their job or closed their business on or after March 15, 2020, to when the national benefit takes effect. The benefit will end on April 30, 2020.
  • You can check your eligibility HERE.

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • The Province has compiled a list of resource documents surrounding various aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Extension of Termination Notice. Click HERE to learn more.
  • There have also been amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2018. Notwithstanding subsection (1), where a tenant suffers a loss of income due to loss of employment or a reduction in work hours as a result of the Public Health Emergency declared in the province on March 18, 2020, the period in which the tenant is required to vacate a residential premises under subsection (1) is extended for a period of not less than 30 days after the notice is served on the tenant.
  • Click HERE to learn more about what this province is doing specifically for landlords and tenants during this time.

Nova Scotia

Income assistance

  • Every individual and family member on income assistance will receive an additional $50 starting Friday, 20 March. People do not need to apply.

Feed Nova Scotia and community food banks

  • We’re giving $1 million to help Feed Nova Scotia purchase food and hire more staff, and $55,000 to support 12 smaller community food banks.

Transition houses

  • We’re giving $200,000 to support transition houses and other organizations that serve vulnerable women and children.

Suspending student loan payments

  • Nova Scotia Student Loan payments are suspended until 30 September 2020. You don’t need to make any payments, and your loans won’t accrue interest. The suspension is automatic – you don’t need to apply.

This province does not appear to have current assistance available specifically for residential landlords or tenants during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Northwest Territories

  • Rental Office services available through phone or email.
  • As of April 1, 2020 all if you currently have a hearing scheduled by teleconference, it will NOT change.
  • No specific COVID-19 Policies in place for landlords or tenants at this time.

Nunavut

  • As of April 1, 2020 there are still no confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.
  • Click HERE to access this Territories up-to-date COVID-19 Related information.
  • No specific COVID-19 Policies in place for landlords or tenants at this time.

Ontario

Renting Changes During COVID-19

  • No new eviction orders will be issued until further notice and sheriff’s offices will postpone any scheduled enforcement of current eviction orders. Tenants must pay rent while an eviction order is not being enforced.
  • Tenants who are having challenges paying rent should speak with their landlords about possibly deferring their rent or other payment arrangements.

For Landlords:

  • Talk to your municipality about help with property taxes and municipal service fees.
  • Inquire with their mortgage lender about mortgage payment deferrals.
  • Investigate federal government programs.

For Tenants:

  • Contact your local service manager.
  • Apply for COVID-19 emergency assistance.
  • Access federal government programs.

Ontario Works (OW)

  • Offering emergency assistance to Ontarians in financial need.
  • Click HERE to access the Online Application for Social Assistance with OW.

The Province’s page on COVID-19 information for landlords gives landlord specific information about evictions, rental payments, and changes to electricity pricing that will cut some costs related to owning a home.

Prince Edward Island

COVID-19 Income Support Fund

  • To assist those experiencing job or income loss as a result of COVID-19.
  • This emergency income fund is a one-time lump sum payment of $750 from the Government of Prince Edward Island. This emergency income is taxable.

COVID-19 Supports for Renters and Landlords

  • The Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit will provide up to $250 per month per household.
  • Evictions have been suspended from provincially-owned social housing units until June 2020.

Quebec

  • Tenants may be able to use Quebec’s Temporary Aid for Workers Programs and may provide residents with $573 for two weeks (possibly can be extended to 28 days for residents that contact the virus). Payment is only available for residents who do not have any other form of compensation, including from private insurance or through other government programs.
  • Eviction hearings are on hold for as long as the province’s state of emergency is in force.

Saskatchewan

  • The province has announced a few measures including utility payment deferrals, self-isolation support funding and 3-month relief, penalty-free, from PST remittance for businesses. Full details HERE.
  • The Self-Isolation Support Program is targeted at Saskatchewan workers forced to self- isolate in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, and who are not covered by recent federally announced employment insurance programs and other supports. Administered by the Ministry of Finance, the program will provide $450 per week, for a maximum of two weeks or $900. Eligible to apply if:
    • They have contracted COVID-19 or are showing symptoms; or
    • They have been in contact with an individual infected with COVID-19; or
    • They have recently returned from international travel and have been required to self-isolate;

Yukon

  • Click HERE for find an extensive list of this Territory’s financial supports during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Offering a Paid Sick Leave Rebate for self-employed people.
  • No specific COVID-19 policies in place for landlords or tenants at this time.

Private Sector Financial Assistance

Banking Institutions (Press the name of each bank to access their COVID-19 Update webpage).

Bank of Montreal (BMO)

  • Their new Financial Relief program is intended to help you with immediate relief. BMO will offer up to a 6-month payment deferral on loans, cards, and lines of credit with no fee (your payment will be deferred but interest will continue to accrue) and no changes to the terms of your BMO account.

CIBC

  • They will work with clients on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help manage these challenges, including up to a 6-month payment deferral for mortgages and the opportunity for relief on other credit products. To help answer your questions, check their COVID-19 Financial Relief FAQ.

National Bank of Canada

Deferral options available for the following services:

  • Mortgage:
    • Can be deferred for up to 3 months.
    • You must continue paying admin fees, insurance, and municipal and school taxes.
    • The deferred payments will continue to accrue interest.
    • The balance upon renewing your mortgage payments will increase because of the unpaid principal and interest.
    • Your online mortgage deferral application will take 6 to 8 business days to be processed.
  • Personal Loans:
    • Postpone your next payment for up to 3 months.
    • Interest continues to accrue during the deferral period.
    • Your loan will be extended for a duration equal to the deferral period.
  • Credit Cards:
    • You can request to defer the minimum monthly payment on your National Bank Mastercard credit card balance for up to 90 days.

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

Customers can request immediate financial relief for up to 1 month. This would allow you to skip a payment for the following services:

  • Mortgages
  • Personal Loans
  • Car Loans
  • Credit Cards

More financial relief is available for these and other products by speaking to one of their advisors.

Scotiabank

  • Allowing customers to apply for relief measure until September 13th, 2020.
  • Mortgage payment deferrals are available (up to 6 months) for customers experiencing hardship. Interest will accrue over the time of the deferral. Press HERE to access the Mortgage Payment Referral form.

TD Bank

If you have a TD personal loan, auto loan, mortgage, home equity loan or line of credit, TD Fit Loan or TD Bank, N.A. Visa credit card, they can help with:

  • Deferment of payments.
  • Waiving late payment fees for credit card and personal lending Customers.
  • Waiving late payment fees on residential mortgages and home equity loans or lines of credit.

RMG Mortgages

  • Allowing customers to “Skip-A-Payment”.