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Condominiums are seen in the Yaletown neighbourhood of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada September 30, 2020.

JENNIFER GAUTHIER/Reuters

Tenants in British Columbia will be protected from rent increases until at least next summer.

In one of its first acts since being re-elected on Oct. 24, Premier John Horgan’s New Democrat government has extended the freeze on rent increases until July 10, 2021.

A statement from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing says the freeze is an interim measure to “provide stability and advance notice for renters and landlords while a new cabinet is sworn in.”

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The government first froze rents in mid-March for part of a relief plan as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Rent increases that were set for Dec. 1, 2020, have been cancelled and the province says tenants who may have received a notice of a pending rent hike should ignore it and continue paying their current rate.

Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, says the freeze has been extended because it is important for both renters and landlords that tenants are financially able to stay in their homes.

“We know many renters are still facing income loss and even the slightest increase in rent could be extremely challenging,” Ms. Robinson says in the statement.

In September, the government set the maximum rent increase amount for next year at 1.4 per cent.

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