COVID-19 Financial Resources for Condo Owners
The sudden and unexpected emergence of COVID-19 in Canada has left thousands of condo owners across the country wondering if their financial stability, and therefore their homes, will be lost.
Social media groups, online discussion forums, and comment sections have been abuzz with questions like:
- Do I still have to pay condo fees during the coronavirus pandemic?
- What payments can I defer? And what is the process for doing so?
- What other financial resources are available to condo owners during this time?
These are important questions that must be answered in order to alleviate condo owner concerns and ensure all property owners are able to endure the coronavirus pandemic and avoid any unnecessary financial hardship.
Thus, in today’s post, we’ll be sharing a detailed list of Alberta COVID-19 supports for condo owners.
Please note: The resources included in this article are subject to change. It is always best to contact the institution or appropriate government branch directly to confirm any details and to determine your eligibility.
Mortgage payment deferrals are available to Alberta condo owners. However, it is important to know that deferral programs vary depending on which bank or lending institution your mortgage agreement is with.
ATB, for example, has announced a customer relief program where mortgage payments can be deferred for up to six months.
TD Bank is also offering a similar program that will be available until June 30th.
If you are worried about being able to make your mortgage payments, call your lender or your personal banking branch and ask about what options are available to you.
Below are some additional questions condo owners should ask:
- How do I apply for the mortgage deferral program?
- What information will I need to provide?
- Am I eligible for mortgage payment deferrals if my finances are not in good standing?
- What are the terms and conditions of the program? How will I be required to pay deferred payments after the program period is over?
- How and when will I be notified if I am approved?
Utility companies are taking a similar approach to financial institutions with regard to COVID-19 support. Providers are offering deferral programs that will be in effect until June 19th, according to the most recent information published on the Alberta Government website.
As with mortgage payments, Alberta condo owners are responsible for contacting their utility company directly to inquire about the deferral options available to them.
Epcor, for instance, has announced the company will be offering deferrals of 90s days on electrical bills for residential, small commercial and farm customers. In addition, they will not be charging customers late fees during the 90-day deferral period.
Be sure to reach out to your utility providers and ask the following questions:
- What are the terms and conditions of your deferral program?
- What are the eligibility criteria?
- Am I protected from service disconnection?
- How should I communicate with you regarding my utility payments moving forward?
- How will I be notified if I am approved for the deferral program?
Homeowners should be cognizant of the fact that any deferred payments will need to be paid upon conclusion of the deferral period. Deferrals do not void or nullify bills, fees, or outstanding debts. In addition, some deferral options add in interest or fees so be sure to read all the details if you are deferring any payments and consider the final costs.
Presently, there are no federal or provincial provisions for condo fee payments— meaning condo owners are still required to pay their fees.
With this being said, your condo board may be willing to work with tenants on a case-by-case basis during this time.
The best course of action for Alberta condo owners who are experiencing economic hardship as a result of COVID-19, and who wish to defer their condo fee payment, is to reach out to their homeowners association directly.
Again, deferred payments will need to be paid upon conclusion of the deferral period. Deferrals do not void or nullify bills, fees, or outstanding debts and may be subject to additional fees or interest.
The City of Edmonton has announced it will provide an optional deferred property tax payment program to homeowners, allowing them to delay payments until September 30th, 2020.
For more information about tax property deferrals in Edmonton, residents are encouraged to reach out to the city directly.
The City of Calgary has not yet announced a property tax deferral program, but is said to be considering one.
Calgarians are encouraged to check The City of Calgary’s COVID-19 web page regularly for updates regarding property tax referrals.
Additional Protections for Albertans
Below are some of the supplementary supports available to Albertans that can increase peace of mind.
1. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit
If you have recently become unemployed due to COVID-19, or your self-employment income has been negatively impacted, you qualify for this benefit. Those approved will receive $2,000.00, which is paid in blocks over the course of 4 weeks.
2. Canada Child Benefit (CCB) Increase
The Government of Canada has announced that CCB payments will be increased for an extra $300.00 per child for the 2019-2020 benefit year.
This benefit will be automatically applied to the annual CCB payment scheduled for May, 2020.
3. Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) Minimum Withdrawals
Condo owners who have a RRIF will be able to withdraw smaller amounts for the duration of 2020. Withdrawal amounts have been reduced by 25% in an effort to provide additional financial flexibility for seniors.
If you are a condo owner and you require additional COVID-19 financial resources, it is best to start by reaching out to your homeowner’s association.
They will be able to provide you with more information about your options and point you in the right direction.
If you’re looking for help to navigate your condo community through these unprecedented times, be sure to give us a call at Catalyst Condo Management Ltd today – we’ll be happy to help you find the answers you’re after!