The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a massive economic downturn and impacted the lives of thousands of renters. In March, B.C. Premier John Horgan said that nobody should lose their home as a result of COVID-19.
But starting September 1st, 2020, the provincial government will allow evictions for non-payment of rent to start - meaning those who can't pay are at risk of losing their homes.
Many have been unable to pay rent during at least one month of this crisis and the protections that were in place to help renters are expiring. A recent survey by our union found that one in four tenants are already having to choose between food and rent. These are unjust evictions!
If you are experiencing an unjust eviction during COVID-19, click the link below.
(If link doesn't work click here)
Contact Tenant Advocates to Fight Your Eviction
If you are unable to pay your full rent for September 1st, your landlord may evict you. However, your landlord cannot evict you for unpaid rent or utilities that came during the eviction ban without first presenting a repayment plan for the unpaid amount. Learn more at the Residential Tenancy Branch.
Tenant Resource & Advisory Council (TRAC)
Free legal information on BC residential tenancy law through their website, telephone Infoline, legal education workshops and multilingual resources.
- Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)
Specific types of advocacy only. Click link above to learn more
First United Church
Legal assistance, advice and representation to low-income and vulnerable people in the Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Eviction Defense Resources
It is more important than ever for renters to understand our rights, and connect with each other to fight unjust evictions. Educate yourself, and reach out to your neighbours - starta WhatApp or Facebook group to watch out for and support each other. The following links are meant to give a broad understanding of how to stop illegal or unjust evictions.
Read the Evictions Self-Defence Handbook
Eight Steps to Stop Renovictions
Eviction Basics (TRAC BC)
- Print Flyers for your Building & Neighbourhood - in (Colour)/(Black & White)
Reach out to your neighbours
The COVID-19 global pandemic has made organizing with your neighbours more challenging - but not impossible. Contacting your neighbours in ways that are safe and follows public health orders is of paramount importance. Don’t knock on doors or pass flyers hand to hand or under doors.
Since we cannot meet in person, we encourage you to use texting, phone conversations, email and social media to talk and plan together. If you already have your neighbours’ contact info, you have a real head start. If not, you can work to collect neighbours’ phone numbers and email addresses by:
- Posting flyers in your building’s lobby
- Having brief conversations with neighbours you see, at a safe distance (at least two metres, or six feet)
- Once you have collected contact information from a few tenants, set up an email list, WhatsApp group, Facebook group, and/or a phone list.
- Some people may not have computer access or have wifi even. Consider what other methods you could use to include them in discussions. We want as many people in the building to participate as possible. Experiment and find out what works best for people to stay connected. You can use materials from this document to help address concerns your neighbours may have.
- Find out if anyone in your building is elderly and/or immunocompromised
- Offer to help them get contactless groceries or other necessities if you can! It’s a great way to support your each other – and build solidarity.
BC Rent Crisis
- In March hundreds of VTU members, renters and advocates all across B.C. pushed the provincial government for a full evictions ban, and together we won - the province pivoted and implemented a ban that has helped over a million renters shelter in place safely over the last several months.
- Our union demands that the province to maintain the ban on evictions and freeze on rent increase until the pandemic is over. We've also called for outstanding rent debts be cancelled during this time of economic crisis. Hundreds of renters and ally organizations across the province have echoed these demands and participated in actions like phone-zaps, and letters to Minister Selina Robinson since April.
- In August our union conducted a survey of 400 renters across B.C. and found that a significant number of tenants are suffering immensely - economically, mentally, and physically. Read the report here.
- Now that the province has fully removed the eviction ban, renters who have been hardest hit by the pandemic and economic downturn will be forced to pay full rent, plus payments for rent debt, or face eviction.
We consider these evictions unjust, and will be fighting them.
Will you join us?
(Already a member? Renew your membership for 2020)
During these times it's important to remember that our union is only as powerful and successful as we are united.