April rent relief helps ease financial fears in Alberta amid pandemic
Published Wednesday, April 1, 2020 8:05AM MDT Last Updated Wednesday, April 1, 2020 10:15AM MDT
CALGARY -- Rental restrictions are in place in Alberta in an effort to alleviate some of the financial burden on those facing layoffs or self-isolating at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The provincial government introduced the new measures last week that include suspending civil enforcement of evictions for a month, meaning no tenant can be evicted if they can’t pay their April rent.
The move also suspends evictions for tenants who failed to pay rent for the last few months.
Landlords in Alberta may not raise rents while the public state of emergency is in effect and any recent increases will be frozen until the order is lifted.
Renters can’t be charged late fees between April 1st and June 30th.
The province also passed Bill-11 on Wednesday. The legislation protects renters from being retroactively charged for rent increases or late payment penalties issued during the public health emergency as well as adding protection for mobile tenants who own their unit but rent the space they live on.
Some landlords in the province have expressed concern with the new restrictions, saying it leaves them footing the bill. Many would like to see the province subside rent direction to landlords instead.
Premier Jason Kenney says there are some protections for landlords as well, including voiding any of these measures if a tenant committed a crime or caused damage to a landlord’s property.
Kenney stressed on Friday that any financial support a person receives from the provincial or federal government should be used to pay rent to their landlord.
Meantime, there are growing calls for a national approach to rent relief during the pandemic, including an online petition that’s been signed more than 750,000 times.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t announced any such plan but says his government is working with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to ensure most mortgages can be deferred.