FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions 

General FAQ’s

Where does the money come from?

The fund is made possible through the generous donations of our funders. Learn more about them here.

How can I support the initiative?

We would like to use this project to demonstrate that a financial guarantee coupled with thorough tenant education can go a long way in increasing access to housing for new renters or those with a weak rental history. You can show support by joining the movement to encourage policy and decision makers to adopt this model at a large scale. To join the movement, enter your email to be part of our community on the home page.

How many tenancies are covered?

Our pilot is covering 45 tenants in the Greater Victoria and Vancouver area. Eventually, we hope to be able to offer support to even more individuals as the program expands.

Our organization would like a piece of this coverage, how can we get involved?

We’re excited to hear you’re interested in joining the RSGF network! As we are still in our pilot phase, we are focusing on our work with our current partners. However, please feel free to express your interest by contacting us, and subscribe to our newsletter for updates!

Why is the project only in Victoria and Vancouver? When are you expanding?

This is our first time running the fund and also the first time a program of this type is running in Canada, so we wanted to start close to home where we’re able to play an active role in supporting tenancies. When the pilot program concludes and we have more data on the experience, we’re very eager to expand the project to our many community partners across Canada. If you’d like to see the project expand, join our movement. The larger our movement grows, the bigger chances we have of putting this initiative on the agenda of policy makers. If you’re interested in keeping up with the project and where it goes next, sign up for our newsletter here, or contact us directly here. We will also post updates on social media as well as this website about the project.

What is the RentSmart Certificate?

The Certificate is a 12-hour course that covers individual rights and responsibilities in renting as well as important life-skills such as budgeting, communication and more! The program was developed by RentSmart Education and Support Society to address some of the recurring housing issues and has been proven to be successful in ensuring graduates are prepared to be responsible renters.

To learn more about the RentSmart Certificate, click here. Completion of the Certificate is a prerequisite to gaining coverage under the RSGF.

What if the damages are over $5,000?

The RSGF covers damages up to $5,000 only. Based on our research, damages are rarely, if ever, above that amount. The tenant will be held responsible for any damages beyond the security deposit and RSGF coverage.

Why do you need a tenancy agreement and condition inspection report for coverage?

In order to be protected by the Residential Tenancy Act, both landlord and tenant need to sign a tenancy agreement and a condition inspection report. Having these documents is important for avoiding misunderstandings in a tenancy relationship. As our goal is to ensure a successful tenancy for both sides, we would like to ensure the tenancy starts off legitimately. A condition inspections report is also helpful for potential claims applications.

How is this different from a rent bank?

Rent banks offer loans to eligible households to pay overdue rent and prevent eviction. The RentSmart Guarantee Fund is used to encourage landlords to offer their units to new tenants by addressing the associated perceived risk factors.

Landlords

How do I know that the tenant in question is supported by the fund?

To ensure a tenant has eligibility under the program, call Toll-free: 833-333-7171 or email: info@rentsmartguarantee.org before signing a tenancy agreement with the tenant. Validation can be confirmed using the RentSmart Certificate Unique ID# found on the RentSmart Certificate of Graduation. Not all RentSmart Certificate graduates are supported by the fund. Please contact us to confirm eligibility for coverage.

Why should I rent to a tenant covered by the RSGF?

We have paired the RentSmart Certificate Course in tenant education with our pilot RentSmart Guarantee fund. This coverage will give you peace of mind when renting to a RentSmart graduate, knowing that they have undergone tenant education to learn how to find and respectfully maintain rental units and have the financial backing of the guarantee. The RentSmart Guarantee Fund will reimburse a landlord for eligible claims of up to $2,000 for unpaid rent, $5,000 of damages caused by tenants or their guests, or a combination of both up to a total claim amount of $5,000.

Do I have to evict a tenant to make a claim?

No, it is not necessary for a tenant to be evicted in order to make a claim. Claims to prevent eviction (where a tenancy is ongoing) may be submitted and will be considered. RentSmart Guarantee Fund administrators will verify damages in cooperation with the landlord and will process the request for Guarantee funds based on program guidelines and policies.

Can my existing tenancy be covered?

No. The purpose of this project is to incentivize landlords to provide access to housing for new renters that would otherwise have a difficult time with their applications due to lack of rental history and references. Therefore, this Fund covers only new tenancies with eligible participants of the project.

I have a unit for rent, can I apply for coverage?

We’re so excited to hear that you’re interested in joining the RSGF network. Please fill out this form here. We will connect you with tenants that are eligible for coverage under the Fund and looking for rental units.

How do I apply for a claim?

You can find the process here.

The tenant hasn’t paid rent, when can I file a claim?

As soon as you start having issues with the tenancy, please contact us. Many issues, like delayed rent payment, can be addressed early to prevent stress, frustrations and evictions. RSGF administrators will work together with landlords, support workers and tenants to problem solve and figure out solutions. We are committed to helping tenants and landlords use the fund in the manner intended so wherever possible we help resolve any issues with applications or claims. If the problem is not resolved, landlords may submit claims through our website.

I’m having problems with the tenant, who can I talk to?

As soon as you start having issues with the tenancy, please contact us. Many issues like delayed rent payment, can be addressed early to prevent stress, frustrations and evictions. RSGF administrators will work together with landlords and tenants to problem solve and figure out solutions.

What do I need to do to get coverage?

This coverage is part of a pilot project funded by Vancity Community Foundation, United Way and the Victoria Foundation. The pilot covers 45 tenants (30 in the CRD and 15 in the Lower Mainland) selected and supported by project partners. In order to get coverage, you’ll need to rent your unit to one of the 45 pre-approved tenants. Please contact us and we’ll connect you to eligible tenants. Once you have selected an eligible tenant, you’ll need to submit your application and documents to receive a formal approval.

I submitted my application, how do I know I’m covered?

Once the completed application is received, it will be reviewed within 2 business days. The landlord and tenant will receive an email notifying them of acceptance or declined coverage. Both landlords and tenants will receive a signed copy of the approved application by mail.

I submitted a claim, how long does it take?

RentSmart Guarantee Fund administrators will assess all landlord claims within five (5) business days and communicate a decision.

How long does coverage last?

Coverage lasts for 12 months from the date of approval. The tenant will receive an email to let them know when the coverage has elapsed.

Tenants

How do I join the RSGF?

Currently, we are running small test pilots of the fund in the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria. Only clients of the project partners that have been pre-approved by a partner organization and completed the RentSmart Certificate course are eligible for coverage under the Fund.

Who is eligible?

Currently, we are running small test pilots of the fund in the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria. Only clients of the project partners that have been pre-approved by a partner organization and completed the RentSmart Certificate course are eligible for coverage under the Fund.

The landlord wants to take my security deposit, I thought I was covered?

The RSGF coverage kicks in after the security deposit has been used. Therefore, the landlord needs to request the security deposit at the start of the tenancy.

If I’m already in a tenancy, can I get covered now?

No. The main purpose of this project is to incentivize landlords to provide access to housing for new renters that would otherwise have a difficult time with their applications due to lack of rental history and references. Therefore, this Fund covers only new tenancies.

What do I need to do to get coverage?

After being approved by one of the project partners, you’ll need to submit the required application and documents to receive a formal approval.

I submitted my application, how do I know I’m covered?

Once the completed application is received, it will be reviewed within 2 business days. The landlord and tenant will receive an email notifying them of acceptance or declined coverage. Both Landlords and Tenants will receive a signed copy of the approved application by mail.

How long does coverage last?

If you’ve been pre-approved for coverage by one of the project partners, you have 18 months to start a new tenancy and initiate the coverage. Once initiated, the coverage lasts for 12 months.

I’m eligible for the coverage but I don’t need it right now, can I use it later?

Yes. You have 18 months to start a new tenancy and initiate the coverage.

What if I can’t afford housing?

While this project is meant to address issues with access to housing, unfortunately it does not solve affordability. Living in a place you can afford is key to retaining a home for a long time. If you’re worried you will not be able to afford the unit in question you need to find ways to make it more affordable. You can either apply for subsidized housing and/or rental assistance, bring in more money (your income), or reduce what goes out (your expenses), or both. This project covers tenancies with private market landlords only.

I’m worried I’m going to be short on rent, what do I do?

Please reach out to your support worker from the project partner organization. They will help you find a solution.

I have coverage but I want to move, can I keep my coverage?

Yes, The coverage stays with the tenant throughout the coverage period of 12 months. You will need to re-submit your application and the required documents together with the new landlord to receive a formal approval.

I have a pet, am I still covered?

Yes, we love our animal friends! As long as pets are legal under the rental agreement, you are eligible for coverage.

Is the coverage per person or per household?

The coverage applies to the principal eligible tenant and all members of their household that are included in the tenancy.

I have a roommate, will we both be covered?

We don’t recommend this project for roommate situations. This is because you might be responsible for actions of a roommate who has not taken a RentSmart course or isn’t as invested in succeeding as you. Having said that, we recognize that the current affordability crisis may prevent you from being able to rent unless you have a roommate. Please contact your support worker to find out if your arrangement may be covered.

Get in touch – Ask us a question.

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Office Location

211-611 Discovery Street,
Victoria, BC  V8T 5G4

Phone

(250) 388-7171

Email

info@rentsmartguarantee.org

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