On May 25, 2021 Premier Jason Kenney announced the Government of Alberta’s plans for reopening. This announcement is in response to the dropping number of new COVID-19 infections and pandemic-related hospitalizations in Alberta. Coupled with the news of the number of citizens with at least one dose of a COVID-19, it looks like the province is on track to reopening in a planned three stage approach.
The uncertainty during this state of emergency continues to be a challenge for many — even as we head into the staged re-opening. Many tenants who are not paying their rent are experiencing legitimate income problems and economic hardships. Especially those who rely on a steady income to pay for their bills and other responsibilities. Not every job comes with the option to work from home. Similarly, not every job has been deemed an essential service and people have been laid off or in a position of reduced hours. The fear of displacement due to outside forces is a very real fear for many. This is further compounded by property owners who are in turn facing financial hardship and economic distress when rental payments are not honoured.
A common issue discussed in the world of property management is how to handle late rental payments and in the most challenging of circumstances, how to deal with a failure to pay rent. Evictions are a last resort option — but if you do go down this road, check out Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.’s recent blog post: Evicting a Tenant for NonPayment of Rent for some useful information about the eviction process and how our team can help!
Overall, the majority of the feedback we have received from tenants is that they have the desire or willingness to make partial payments and agree to a re-payment plan, but have been unable to pay rent in full due to financial hardships.
If you are facing this type of situation, during the state of emergency, below are some of the resources we’ve used and have shared to help tenants and landlords manage rental payments.
For financial relief from various government jurisdictions, tenants can search out support from:
- City of Calgary (call 3-1-1) The City of Calgary offers information for Grants and resources for rental assistance.
- Province of Alberta The Alberta Jobs Now Program will provide up to $370 million to help private and non-profit businesses with job supports to get thousands of Albertans back to work. This is an excellent source of support and information for tenants who are having a really hard time finding employment.
- Alberta Social Services
- Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Program (CERS)
- Rent Assistant Benefit (RAB) / Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit
There are also personal wellness supports available. These resources are also important, especially recognizing the stressful impact of finances, unemployment, unforeseen difficulties and stressful events like COVID-19:
- Alberta Health Services: Healthlink (* This link is a great resource!)
- free virtual stress management workshops
- Distress Centre
While every situation is unique and no solution is a “one-size-fits-all” approach, the team at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. has collaborated on many collection calls. Depending on the situation, the team has reached out to touch base and check-in with tenants to avoid adding the additional frustration of collection letters and/or 14-day Notices of Eviction. Again, this can be a challenge to navigate as not every situation is the same as situations vary. It is important to proceed with care and caution as property managers are not social workers. The above links and resources are a start to help those facing hardships get the help needed.
For more information about potential supports, visit Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.’s COVID-19 focused blogs that have been published.