Shortly after Elections B.C. confirmed the NDP landslide on October 24, Premier John Horgan is giving tenants a break.
Today, the province announced that a freeze on rent increases has been extended until July 10, 2021.
The B.C. government stated that this move is being done under the Emergency Program Act and COVID-19 Related Measures Act.
This freeze applies to rent increases that were scheduled to take effect on December 1.
It fell short of the B.C. NDP platform promise, which pledged a rent freeze "to the end of 2021".
"We know many renters are still facing income loss and even the slightest increase in rent could be extremely challenging," Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson said in a news release. "For that reason, we are extending the freeze on rent increases to provide more security for renters during the pandemic."
The initial ban on rent hikes was imposed on March 18 and was set to expire on December 1.
Landlords or tenants who have questions are being asked to contact the Residential Tenancy Branch at 1-800-665-8779 or by email at HSRTO@gov.bc.ca.
Landlord B.C., which represents apartment owners, said on its website that it was earlier under the impression that the rent freeze would remain until the end of 2021.
"We had at that time, through our channels, voiced our concern to the BC NDP indicating that such a decision would be harmful to our sector and, ultimately, renters," it stated.
On the weekend, Elections B.C. confirmed that the NDP won 57 seats last month in the 87-seat B.C. legislature. The B.C. Liberals have elected 28 members and there are two for the B.C. Greens.
There will be a judicial recount in West Vancouver–Sea to Sky, where B.C. Liberal incumbent Jordan Sturdy has a 41-vote lead over B.C. Green Jeremy Valeriote.
Premier John Horgan said in a news conference today that the rent freeze until July 10 is an "interim measure".
"This was the extent of the order that could be issued," he said. "And we have done that. But in order to have the freeze for the entire year of 2021, we will have to extend that to September 2021, and then have that three-month period of time for landlords and tenants to figure out where they're going to be going on January 2022. But that remains the plan, and this is, let's call it an interim measure to get to that goal."