From health concerns to boredom during social distancing, COVID-19 is making life more complicated for us all. Unfortunately, some homeowners have found that the biggest challenges are financial. More than 1 million Canadians lost their jobs last month—and if you fall into this camp, you may be worried about paying the bills and putting food on the table.
The good news? There’s financial help available! If you’re struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic, here are some of the supports to look into…
Mortgage payment deferrals
It’s the biggest ongoing expense most homeowners have. We’re talking about your mortgage. If you’ve lost your job—or part of your household income—due to COVID-19, you may be concerned about how you’ll continue to make your monthly payments.
Fortunately, Canada’s big six banks are all offering relief for borrowers who have been hit hard. Bank of Montreal, National Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, and TD are all providing up to six-month mortgage payment deferrals. CIBC and Royal Bank are tackling the issue on a case-by-case basis—and the latter is allowing eligible customers to skip a payment if need be.
In general, lenders are a lot more flexible than usual right now. To reduce the financial pressure you may be feeling, consider calling your bank to see if they can work with you to find a solution!
Electricity & property taxes
The province is doing its part to help homeowners who have bills piling up. For starters, Ontario municipalities were given the option to delay the collection of property taxes—and Toronto has done just that. A 60-day grace period was enacted in March, which also included utility bills and late penalties. Just be aware that it ends on May 15th!
As for electricity bills, the government is charging time-of-use customers the same (low) off-peak rate, no matter when they consume energy. While this is set to change in a few days, any savings you’ve accrued during the 45-day period will help as you catch up on bill payments. Ontario Hydro also suspended disconnections until July 31st.
A boost for families
There’s no denying that raising kids is a costly endeavour. School closures have made the situation even trickier, since many parents have had to either find childcare or lose pay for the time they’ve taken off work to be with their little ones. That’s why the Ontario government is providing families with some extra support.
If you have a child aged 12 or under, you’ll receive a one-time, $200 payment. For youths (21 and younger) who have special needs, you’ll receive $250. Applying online is simple, and you’ll receive your money within two weeks!
If you’ve lost employment due to COVID-19, there’s even more support available at the federal level. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is providing $500 a week for up to 16 weeks to those dealing with financial hardship. You can find the eligibility criteria here.
If you require significant financial help right now, you’re not alone. A short-term boost can help you get back on track—so don’t hesitate to take advantage of the support available if you need it.
Wondering what the real estate market looks like right now—and what it means for you? Get in touch. We’d love to help by answering all of your questions.