Paul Legace, tenant advocate at the Prince Rupert Unemployed Action Centre leads a tenant meeting in Feb. 2020. On Nov. 9 Legace said he has seen more tenants in the past two months bring in eviction notices than in his three years in the city. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Paul Legace, tenant advocate at the Prince Rupert Unemployed Action Centre leads a tenant meeting in Feb. 2020. On Nov. 9 Legace said he has seen more tenants in the past two months bring in eviction notices than in his three years in the city. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Province freezes residential rent again until summer of 2021

Rent increases issued during COVID-19 are invalid but evictions in Prince Rupert are up

Residential rent is frozen for B.C. tenants effective immediately, under the powers of the Emergency Program Act and COVID-19 Related Measures Act, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced on Nov. 9 in a media statement.

“Increases set to happen on Dec. 1, 2020, are cancelled, along with all pending increases through to July,” the statement said.

“We know many renters are still facing income loss and even the slightest increase in rent could be extremely challenging. For that reason, we are extending the freeze on rent increases to provide more security for renters during the pandemic,” Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing said. “We are all in this together, and it is important for both renters and landlords that people can stay in their homes.”

The rent increase freeze means that any notice of rent increase that has already been served will no longer be valid. Landlords must issue a new notice of rental increase using the 1.4 per cent set for 2021, using the correct form, and providing three full months of current notice, the Residential Tenancy Branch said on it’s information line.

“For most tenancies, this will mean that the earliest effective date for an increase will be August 1, 2021, if served in April 2021,” the RTB said.

The Province originally froze rent increases on March 18, 2020, with the ban set to expire Dec. 1.

“All renters who have received notice their rent was set to increase after the March 30, 2020, ban, including increases set for Dec. 1, should disregard those notices and continue to pay their current rent amount until July 10, 2021,” the MAH statement said.

In agreement with the rent-increase freeze is Paul Legace, tenant and poverty advocate for the Prince Rupert Unemployed Action Centre.

“Income is not going to turn back. It’s not going back to normal anytime in the next year – that’s the simple thing.”

“But since the COVID-19 eviction moratorium lifted, I can tell you in the last two months, I’ve had more eviction notices than I’ve had in three years here. Hands down – more than in three years,” he said.

The majority of eviction notices that tenants are bringing to him are from ‘mom and pop’ landlords who own individual properties or a small number of units and not so much the larger corporate entities.

Legace said he is seeing a lot of eviction notices from landlords who say they are moving into the units themselves or are going to do renovations on the units. These notices are usually given to tenants who are living in lower-cost rental units in the $700-$800 range.

“It’s not the places that are charging $1,500 to $2,000,” he said.

With the housing crisis in Prince Rupert tenants are no longer just accepting the eviction notices laying down, because with nowhere to move to they need to dispute them.

Legace’s RTB hearing caseload has increased by at least three hearings a week, which in Prince Rupert is a higher amount than pre-COVID-19, he said.

READ MORE: Full story: Eviction day looming for Pinecrest tenants

READ MORE: COVID-19: B.C. eviction ban ends for tenants owing back rent

K-J Millar | Journalist 
Send K-J email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pea sized hail rained from the skies in Prince Rupert on Nov. 30 leaving roads covered in a sheet of ice. (Photo; K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Large hail caused icy conditions in Prince Rupert

High wind warnings in effect for North Coast and Haida Gwaii

The Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor is now 75 per cent complete, announced Prince Rupert Port Authority on Nov. 30. (Photo: supplied by PRPA)
Crews are working 24 hours a day to complete vital infrastructure road in Prince Rupert

Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor is 75% complete announced Prince Rupert Port Authority

Illustration courtesy Pacific Northern Gas
Illustration shows what’s involved with the plan by Pacific Northern Gas to expand the capacity of its natural gas line serving the northwest.
LNG projects hold out potential for lower gas user rates

LNG plants planned for Port Edward and Terrace

Prince Rupert carving artist Henry Kelly is having his work installed on Nov. 20, as a permanent art exhibit at the Prince Rupert Regional Airport. The traditional cedar canoe is a welcome symbol to those arriving at YPR. (Photo: supplied)
Art unveiling ceremonies at YPR cancelled due to new pandemic restrictions

Coast Tsimshian Cultural Exhibit at Prince Rupert Regional Airport features local carvers

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Fatty Legs co-author responds to Abbotsford class assignment on residential schools

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Harbour seals rest on log booms at Flavelle Mill in Port Hardy. With recent announcements the mill will be getting rid of the log booms, Dr. David Rosen sees an opportunity to study how the disappearance of this highly-frequented refuge for the seals will alter their behaviour in Burrard Inlet. (Photo supplied by David Rosen)
What the heck is going on with marine mamals in Vancouver waterways?

UBC researcher asks why they’re returning, and what role we’re playing

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism ‘widespread’

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

Most Read