Now that banks in Canada have announced that they will allow homeowners to defer their mortgage payments for up to six months in light of the current novel coronavirus pandemic, tenants are wondering why they still have to keep up with rent payments in a time that is financially precarious for most.
The concern is especially pressing in Toronto, where rent is a shocking $2,500 per month on average and many tenants’ rent money helps landlords to pay off the mortgages they may now no longer have to make payments on.
Some find it a bit counterintuitive that those who have been lucky enough to have the financial means to purchase a house — an option unavailable to most of us, especially in Toronto’s market — are getting a break, while many renters in Canada live paycheque to paycheque (and many paycheques won’t be coming in during our current state of emergency).
A few are going as far as to call it class warfare — such as popular social media account parkdalelife, which aptly tweeted: “working class people will continue supporting a capitalist class that amasses wealth through income from capital during mass layoffs and a global pandemic.”
There is the fact that those who defer their mortgages will eventually have to pay them off in full, while it may be difficult for landlords to retrieve deferred rent later on from a tenant who, say, moves at the end of their current lease agreement.
Still, the situation does feel unfair, and people have pointed out that it may lead to further evictions and cases with the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board.
Before the mortgage news broke, more than 400,000 people had signed an online petition calling for both rent and mortgage payments to be cancelled for all Canadians during this unprecedented time.
Though it’s good to see that some change on this front was enacted to ease many residents’ financial burden, a huge portion of the population is still worrying about how they will make ends meet in the coming months.