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May 25, 2020 | The Benefit

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.

First, the good news. Every little shred helps.

The blue bank is telling its customers not to worry about extra interest that will accrue as they defer their mortgage payments. “BMO will be refunding any additional interest accumulated on your deferred mortgage payments for the entire deferral period.” It says. “We will credit this refund directly to your mortgage within 90 days once your deferral period has ended.”

Not a big savings – on a $300,000 loan at 3% it amounts to about $50 after six months. But fifty bucks is fifty bucks. Of course all of the money you should have paid over those months will still be owing. Your lender might increase the monthly, or add it to the debt. But it’s not going away.

Speaking of deferrals, half the homeowners in Canada who have decided they cannot/will not make their payments because of the virus live in Quebec or Alberta. And the deferral rate is twice as high for those with non-prime mortgages – at about 30%. So, connect the dots. An inescapable conclusion is there will be a lot more houses coming up for sale this autumn when the deferrals end, yet the jobs have not returned. If you’re housing-hunting, wait.

Now, speaking of not paying, it would appear the Government of Canada is confusing the withholding of rent, which is a form of theft, with a ‘Covid benefit’ like the free money it’s dishing out by the billions. In fact, it seems Ottawa is condoning – if not encouraging – people to stick it to the owners, now that the virus has shut down landlord-renter tribunals across the country.

Just visit this simplistic web site to see for yourself. If you indicate the virus stole our job and you’re now having trouble paying the landlord, here’s what you end up with:

2 results
Based on what you’ve told us, the following help is available:
* Apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
* In most provinces and territories, you cannot be evicted for not paying rent

Apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
* $500 per week
* Up to 16 weeks if you keep meeting the eligibility criteria
* First payment within 10 days of applying

In most provinces and territories, you cannot be evicted for not paying rent
* Provincial governments are in charge of rental housing rules.
* In most provinces and territories, you cannot be evicted for not paying rent.

“Among benefits the feds tell you about is the advice to not pay rent,” says blog dog Scott. “This is crazy, from an official federal government site.” You bet it is. The T2 administration is not only informing you that screwing your landlord is an officially-sanctioned action, but that this constitutes a right, similar to the CERB cash.

On that note, this well-traveled blog whisks you to Vernon, one of the jewels of the Okanagan, where a young female doctor has just learned all about being a landlord. She rented out her rural property while in residency, and now wants to move home. Tough, says the tenant.

Here is her tale of woe, as reported in the local online rag:

“She states that I have no rights to my home during the state of emergency and I cannot evict her. Unfortunately, she is correct. I have called to discuss the situation with the BC Tenancy Board, who stated ‘your concerns fall on deaf ears’ and suggested that I take this up with the politicians who created this legislation.”

“The tenant has proceeded to conduct multiple and recurrent breaches of contract, including housing two cats and two dogs in the home – the lease states pet free. I had to enter the mechanical room in the basement and noticed literal actual piles of garbage and rotting food and animal excrement in the basement. Finally, this tenant smokes inside and on the deck of a log home on a wooded acreage, both a breach of contract and dangerous –which the Tenancy Act says is not dangerous enough for eviction.”

“I have tried to file for eviction with BC Tenancy Board, and it has been denied. I am sure there are others that are suffering financially and personally by the complete unfair and ridiculous BC Tenancy Act. It is named appropriately ‘Tenancy’ act as it really only serves and supports tenants and discriminates against landlords and our homes.”

“This is becoming all too common,” says Barb, our OK correspondent. “The principles here, if they can be called that, are nothing short of anarchy – like the ‘Keep your Rent’ guy on your blog. Indeed, it is just shy of being criminal.”

But, but, but… Not paying rent and stealing accommodation because nobody can evict you during a pandemic is now a Covid benefit, Barb. It’s okay. Mr. Trudeau said so – “you cannot be evicted for not paying rent.” Therefore not paying is the same as paying, because both of those things are, like, allowed. But only one is called a benefit, which is not paying. So it’s better. How is this hard to grasp?

Sheesh. Boomers.

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May 25th, 2020

Posted In: The Greater Fool

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