Rent repayment plans
The GNWT is introducing regulations under the Residential Tenancies Act that give tenants a reasonable timeframe to pay back rent they owe that accumulated between March 18, 2020, and January 31, 2021. This applies to tenants who lost their job or had their income reduced as a result of COVID-19, and provided written notice to their landlord under the first Residential Tenancies (COVID-19) Regulations.
Landlords and tenants have one year (from February 1, 2021, to February 1, 2022) to begin a repayment plan under these regulations. Repayment plans will deal with unpaid rent related to COVID-19 and can be started by either the landlord or the tenant.
If the landlord and the tenant entered into a prior agreement that addressed the full amount of rent that a tenant was not able to pay as a result of COVID-19, a new repayment plan cannot be started under the new regulations.
How will repayment plans work?
If a tenant owes rent that became due during the specified period of March 18, 2020, to January 31, 2021, and provided their landlord with written notice during that period, a landlord can only end the tenancy for that unpaid rent if a repayment plan is established and the tenant fails to make those payments. Unless a tenant and landlord agree otherwise, payments are to be made in equal instalments spread out over a one-year period. The repayment plan can be initiated by either the tenant or the landlord. If the tenant defaults on the repayment plan (fails to make a payment), the landlord may apply to the Rental Office or give notice to terminate the tenancy due to non-payment of rent.
Repayment plan requirements
Repayment plans established under these new regulations must set out:
- The date the repayment period starts (this is the date the repayment plan is given by the landlord to the tenant or by the tenant to the landlord) and ends (this is 12 months after the start date).
- The total amount of rent that is overdue (for example, $2,000).
- The date on which each instalment must be paid (for example, the first of each month if the tenancy agreement says that rent is due on the first of the month).
- The amount that must be paid in each instalment (for example, $2000 divided by either 11 or 12 instalments depending on when the repayment plan is given, and when rent is due each month).
Repayment plans must follow three basic terms unless the landlord and tenant both agree in writing to amend them:
- Tenants have 12 months to pay back the full amount of their overdue rent. The 12 months starts on the date that the repayment plan is given by the landlord to the tenant or by the tenant to the landlord. The payment of the overdue rent must be in equal instalments.
- Each instalment must be paid on the same date that rent is due under the tenancy agreement.
- The date the first instalment is due must be at least 30 days after the date the repayment plan is given by the landlord to the tenant or by the tenant to the landlord.
Variations that a landlord and tenant could agree to include:
Extending the repayment period beyond 12 months, but not extending beyond February 1, 2024.
► For example, they could agree that the tenant would pay back their rent over 24 months instead of 12 months.
Allow earlier instalments to be less than later instalments.
► For example, they could agree that the tenant pays $100 instalments for the first six months and $300 for the last six months.
Change the date that instalments are due each month.
► For example, they could agree that if a tenant normally pays rent on the first of every month, that instalments will be due on the 15th of every month.