People are being told to self-isolate at home during the pandemic and the possibility of being evicted must be prevented, Horgan said.
Many renters who are now out of work because of the pandemic had hoped to get an answer on the province's plan on Monday, but instead learned they'll have to wait until Wednesday for more information. Benefiting people with low to moderate incomes, this supplement will be available to renters who are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, but do not qualify for existing rental assistance programs.
Horgan said he doesn't want people to fear losing their homes, which "should be a place of comfort and security".
"It also means that in the short term, families and individuals who are tenants do not lose their home due to a drop in income related to job losses through Covid-19. With some of the most expensive rents in the country, $500 doesn't go far enough for renters in B.C. No one should have to choose between spreading the COVID-19 virus and paying rent", Leadnow senior campaigner Claire Gallagher said in a statement.
Housing Minister Selina Robinson said during the conference that although there will be a moratorium on evictions, there will be some exceptions including if there are safety issues. "That's why I delivered recommendations that address the immediate concerns of both landlords and tenants who are doing their best at this hard time".
"The fewer people who access the program, the more opportunity we have to expand it", said Horgan, noting there are about 500,000 renters in B.C.
The Northwest Territories joined Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island in halting all non-urgent hearings before their landlord-tenant tribunals, effectively banning any evictions resulting from non-payment of rent.
Halting the enforcement of existing eviction notices issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns. The smaller number of court-ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government.
While the freeze on rent increase applies for six months, the tenancy termination measures apply for three months.
The province is restricting methods that renters and landlords can use to serve notices as well to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 by disallowing personal service and allowing email.
The province's Residential Tenancy Branch will implement several additional actions, including adjourning and rescheduling hearings in situations where people need additional time to prepare and extending timelines for filing applications for dispute resolution. Renters will also be able to prevent landlords from entering their units except in exceptional cases.
It is also giving landlords the ability to restrict access to common areas in buildings, allowing measures like reducing the numbers of people allowed in laundry rooms or closing games rooms, and to bar visitors.