COVID-19 Updates: Taking steps to return to normal.
This is part of an overall $7.7-billion package in direct supports and deferrals designed to relieve the immediate financial burden brought on by the crisis and provide stability during these unprecedented and uncertain times.
The new protections mean:
- Effective immediately, tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent and/or utilities before May 1.
- Effective immediately, rents will not increase while Alberta’s state of public health emergency remains in effect.
- Effective April 1, late fees cannot be applied to late rent payments for the next three months.
- Effective April 1, landlords and tenants need to work together to develop payment plans while the state of public health emergency is in effect.
“We want to be clear: As of today, no one will be facing immediate eviction from their home for non-payment of rent or utilities owed to the landlord. Additionally, tenants will not face increasing financial pressure from rent increases or fees for late rent payments. We are expecting landlords and tenants to work together to figure out payment plans that help everyone meet financial obligations as we manage COVID-19, and we are doing further policy work on support for renters during these tough times.”
“We’ve been listening to the financial concerns of landlords and tenants and these measures protect Albertans and give them time to get back on their feet. This is more practical relief from the immediate financial pressures on Albertans – on top of emergency isolation supports, deferrals of utility bill and student loan payments, an education property tax freeze, and ATB Financial mortgage deferrals.”
Payment plans and eviction process
While Alberta is in a state of public health emergency, landlords must attempt to work out a payment plan with tenants who are unable to make their full rent when payment is due. The Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) will not hear applications that could lead to eviction due to non-payment unless a reasonable attempt has been made to work out a payment plan.
Until the state of public health emergency has been lifted, landlords cannot raise the rent on residential properties or mobile home sites, even if notice of an increase has already been given.
Until June 30, landlords cannot further penalize tenants who are late on rent by charging late fees, even if the signed rental agreement states that a late fee can be applied. Landlords will also not be able to retroactively collect late fees for this period.
“As housing providers, we fully support our provincial leaders, so together, we can support all residential renters in Alberta affected by COVID-19 and continue to provide the essential service of a safe, healthy and peaceful place to call home through flexibility and mutual resolve. Together, we will all get through this.”
“The government’s plan to offer rental protections to people unable to pay their rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to me, seems like an excellent step forward in battling this public health crisis. Helping Albertans by not allowing evictions next month and asking landlords to create payment plans with tenants will save great suffering and will prevent a worsening of the pandemic.”
- These protections are required by new ministerial orders under the Residential Tenancies Act and the Mobile Homes Sites Tenancies Act.
- Landlords can still file applications and receive orders for possession if the reason for the eviction is unrelated to rent and/or utility payments (e.g. safety concerns, tenant engaging in criminal activity).
- The $7.7-billion supports package includes:
- Health-care funding: $500 million
- Emergency Isolation Support: $50 million (one-time payment $1,146)
- Community and Social Services funding: $60 million total
- Adult homeless shelters: $25 million
- Women’s emergency shelters: $5 million
- Community-based organizations: $30 million
- Freezing education property taxes: $87 million
- Student loan interest waived for six months: $45 million
- Employment standards: 14 days of job-protected leave if directed to self-isolate
- Two-month extension of driver’s licence, vehicle registration and ID card expiry date: up to $60 million
- Alberta student loan deferral: $148 million
- 90-day utility deferral program
- ATB Financial customer relief program: total loans to consumers and businesses that qualified for deferrals – $3.6 billion to date
- Government to pay 50 per cent of WCB premiums for small and medium-sized businesses: $350 million
- Six-month education property tax deferral for businesses: $458 million
- Government to pay Alberta Energy Regulator industry levy for six months: $113 million
- Corporate income tax payment deferral to Aug. 31 interest-free: $1.5 billion
- Workers’ Compensation Board premium payment deferral: $750 million
- Extensions for oil and gas tenures extending the term of mineral agreements expiring in 2020 by one year
- Two-month extension of filing deadline for annual returns with Alberta Corporate Registry: up to $6.3 million
- Defer tourism levy for hotels and other lodging providers until Aug. 31: Frees up more than $5 million for employers
Alberta has a comprehensive response to COVID-19 including measures to enhance social distancing, screening and testing. Financial supports are helping Alberta families and businesses.