April 1st, 2020: A Day of Shock and Awe
Nothing about any day is normal right now. Every day brings news that changes our worlds and we are all doing our level best to cope. For landlords and tenants, there next big shift will be on April 1st when most residential rents come due.
There has been a great deal of confusion on the residential rent issue in Ontario. The Province has frozen all eviction orders and various tenant advocacy groups have been spreading a message to tenants telling them not to pay rent or to initiate a rent strike. At the time of this writing, there has been no relief YET announced for landlords who are panicking. Many landlords are carrying mortgages, insurance, condo fees, taxes and other expenses on the properties they own and can also not afford to carry on without income. What a dilemma.
This infographic is the simplest way I could find to talk about what the truth is. Tenants must understand that their obligation to pay rent does not go away on April 1st; only the option to evict is frozen for now. Every penny not paid is still owing and will be indebted to the landlord.
While so many people are struggling right now, the vast majority of people are still working or being paid. It is possible they say that by the end of the year, up to 15% of Canadians could be unemployed but that leaves 85% still working. Of those who are not, governments have stepped up with emergency relief programs to provide supports. In light of this, most tenants should be able to pay their rents on April 1st. For those who cannot, they should talk to their landlords about arrangements for partial payments to be repaid later on and include a plan for doing so. For landlords, there should be open lines of communication with tenants to find out the reality of their situations and to see what adjustments both parties can live with as needed.
As we all keep saying, we are in this together. Work together, be kind to one another and let’s ride out the storm without sinking the ship.