The COVID-19 pandemic is creating novel challenges for landlords and property managers, among many others. Scharfstein Gibbings Walen Fisher LLP is available to assist landlords and property managers during this difficult time by providing current and relevant information regarding changes to this important area of our economy.
The Saskatchewan Landlord Association has provided several helpful resources including the following:
In addition, the Institute of Real Estate Management has provided a Pandemic Guide for Real Estate Managers that has several helpful tips.
The most common question being asked by landlords through this time is “do my tenants still have to pay rent?” The short answer to this question is yes. There is currently no amendment to the law that permits tenants to refuse to pay their rent. There is also no requirement for landlords to provide rent relief options. However, a landlord may choose to voluntarily allow a payment holiday, and in some cases that may be the most appropriate business decision.
It should also be noted however, that the Office of Residential Tenancies has suspended eviction hearings during this time. Practically, this means that landlords will not be able to evict tenants for arrears of rent, but that the arrears are still owing to the landlord. More information on this program can be found here.
The other main issue on the minds of landlords is “what programs exist for me to ease my current expenses?” There are several current programs that a landlord may be able to take advantage of to reduce their current expenses, including:
- Several banks and credit unions have suggested programs to defer mortgage payments. Your financial institution can provide you with information on any programs that may be applicable to your situation.
- Several municipalities, including Saskatoon, have introduced “grace periods” or other systems to allow for deferred payments of utilities and property taxes. See, for example:
- Several other utility providers have also suspended active collections activities, essentially deferring disconnections due to arrears during this time, including:
Amid the global response to COVID-19, the top priority of our firm remains the health and safety of our colleagues and our community. As an essential service, our experienced team at Scharfstein Gibbings Walen Fisher LLP remains available to assist you during this time. For further information, please contact us.
March 27, 2020
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