COVID-19 Resources for West End Renters

A Typical, West End Apartment Building on Burnaby Street. February, 2020.

One of Vancouver’s liveliest and most historic downtown neighbourhoods, the West End is well-loved for its diversity, tree-lined streets, and proximity to nearby parks and beaches. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, the virus has created unique challenges for our community.

Across Metro Vancouver, approximately two thirds of the population own a home. The situation is very different in the West End however, as over 80% of residents are renters in high-rise apartment buildings. Equally troubling, many West End renters live alone, in one bedroom apartments with higher than average rents. Amid massive layoffs and job insecurity related to COVID-19, many tenants have been experiencing anxiety about being able to pay rent, and cover basic necessities.

According to a recent survey by Abacus Data, 62% of renters are ‘extremely worried or worried a lot’ about the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other Canadians. Additionally, 64% of renters are ‘really worried’ about not being able to pay their bills over the next month.

Gordon Neighbourhood House has compiled these updates and resources for tenants and landlords during these challenging times:

The Province of British Columbia
The Province of BC is implementing a number of measures to keep people housed and protect their health.

“As we work together to fight this pandemic, we can’t afford to leave anyone behind,” Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End said. “That’s why I delivered recommendations that address the immediate concerns of both landlords and tenants who are doing their best at this difficult time.”

Some immediate measures include:

  • Immediately suspend all evictions (except in cases of danger and safety issues) to ensure people can stay in their homes, during this public health crisis.
  • The BC government will provide support to help people pay their rents, by giving up to $500 a month towards rent, building on the recently announced federal and provincial financial supports for British Columbians facing financial hardship. Application information for this program will be released soon.
  • The BC government will enact a rent freeze so rents cannot go up on April 1st.  
  • Allow landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-1

    Pour une traduction en français.
    ਇੱਕ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਅਨੁਵਾਦ ਲਈ.

Residential Tenancy Act
The Residential Tenancy Act is a provincial law that states what your legal rights are as a tenant. This Act sets out rules for both you and your landlord. There is a government office called the Residential Tenancy Branch. If you encounter a problem, the Residential Tenancy Branch has trained staff who can provide information about the Act and its application to your specific circumstances.

Spencer Chandra Herbert’s COVID-19 Poster
Poster with tips for residents of apartment buildings and other multi-unit buildings.

Government of Canada COVID-10 Economic Response Plan
The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

City of Vancouver Renter Office
The Renters Office helps ensure households have a place at the City to access timely information and receive support in exercising their tenancy rights under Provincial and City policies. City staff monitor enquiries daily, and aim to respond within two business days.
(604) 673-8291 or

Tenant Survival Guide 
This plain-language guide offers tenants a basic understanding of residential tenancy law in BC. It is designed to educate readers on their rights and responsibilities, and help prevent or resolve any problems they may encounter during their tenancy.

Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre
TRAC is a non-profit organization that promotes the legal protection of tenants by providing information, education, support, and research on residential tenancy matters.

COVID-19 and Canada’s Renters
Abacus Data Bulletins are short analyses of public opinion data