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An organization representing B.C. landlords wants residential rental housing exempted from the province’s state of emergency declaration.

Landlord B.C. says on its Facebook page that this sector “cannot continue to operate in such an environment”.

It’s urging members to write to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selena Robinson to end the moratorium on evictions, as well as other restrictions recently imposed on landlords.

Landlord B.C. wants its members to copy the letter to Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, who imposed the state of emergency, and Premier John Horgan.

Horgan has said that he doesn’t see any end in sight to the state of emergency, which was imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Landlord B.C. has posted a form letter on its website that landlords can send to Robinson.

“The notion that the State of Emergency could be extended indefinitely is an unnerving prospect for owners and managers of residential rental housing,” the letter states. “It is a particularly daunting prospect for the many small landlords who provide critically important homes for BC families and, as you well know, disproportionately represent our sector.”

The Vancouver Tenants Union, on the other hand, has launched an online petition calling on the B.C. government to extend the ban on evictions and rent increases until the end of the pandemic.

In addition, it wants the province to come up with a plan to cancel existing eviction notices and rent det accrued before and during the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated working people and their incomes. The jobs lost during the lock down have been disproportionately low-paying jobs held by vulnerable renters,” the tenants union states on its website. “Thousands of renters have already missed paying some or all of their rents over the last few months, and have no prospect for continued income in a global economic depression.” 

B.C. imposed a state of emergency on March 18.

On May 27, Farnworth extended it by two weeks, which means it’s set to expire on Tuesday (June 9).

Under the Emergency Program Act, Farnworth has powers under a state of emergency to procure any property, services, resources, or equipment in B.C. and can authorize the entry into any building without a warrant.

In addition, he has authority to fix prices and ration food, clothing, fuel, equipment, and medical or other essential supplies.

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