Since April 1, landlords in Saskatchewan have run into arrears totalling more than $30 million, according to the province’s premier organization for landlords.
Cameron Choquette, executive officer at the Saskatchewan Landlord Association, said that while the group supports the residential eviction ban that has been in place since March, there might be some unscrupulous individuals cheating the situation.
“The eviction ban is currently empowering people to take advantage of the ban, and that’s where our concern lies,” Choquette told CBC News. “About two-thirds of the arrears in June, or around $4 million, were attributed to tenants who were deliberately not paying rent and taking advantage of the current eviction moratorium.”
Choquette pointed at delinquency statistics to support his point: When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March, around 20% of tenants were not paying rent. This proportion dwindled to approximately 10% in May and 8% in June, largely due to federal financial assistance programs.
Boyd Godfrey has expressed dismay at the situation. His three rental properties and rents to six tenants were intended to help him remain liquid in his later years, but he said that one of his tenants has not paid rent for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Saskatoon native’s unpaid rent total has reached $10,000 as of last week.
“It’s ridiculous,” Godfrey said. “The government has stopped us from being in a position to evict residential tenants but they're expecting the landlords to cover the cost of it.”