Cowichan Rent Bank
What is a Rent Bank?
A Rent Bank provides financial assistance in the form of a no-interest repayable loan to households who are at risk of eviction, unable to make rent payments, or pay utility bills due to a short-term financial crisis. The loan can also be used as a damage deposit and/or first month's rent to move to safe and sustainable housing.
What services are offered by the Cowichan Rent Bank?
Interest-free loan for those who qualify and meet eligibility
Advocacy, resources, and referral services
Support in a time of crisis
Who is eligible for a Rent Bank loan?
The following criteria must be met to be eligible for a repayable Rent Bank loan.
19 years of age or older
Resident of OR are moving to the Cowichan Region
Must meet low-to-moderate income requirements - see Household Income Limits chart below
A regular source of verifiable income
A current bank account
Must not have an undischarged bankruptcy
Must not be owing more than 2 months in rent
Evidence funds will stabilize housing for at least 90 days
Ability to repay loan and manage any outstanding debts
Household Income Limits are determined by BC Housing. For the Cowichan Region, low-income is defined as:
Maximum pre-tax annual household income
1 bedroom or less
4 bedrooms or more
What documents are required to apply for a loan from the Cowichan Rent Bank?
Two pieces of identification (one with a photo)
Proof of Tenancy or Intent to Rent (ex: Residential Tenancy Agreement, Lease Agreement, or other rental agreement)
Eviction notice or Utility Notice of Disconnection (if applicable)
Three months of ALL bank accounts and credit card statements (including statements of all debt)
Proof of income
Please Note: BC Rent Bank and Cowichan Housing Association will use your personal information only for assessment and administration purposes in accordance with the guidelines of the BC Rent Bank Privacy Statement.
What is the process to apply for the
Cowichan Rent Bank?
Application & Review
Once a Rent Bank Case Manager has reviewed your initial information, we will contact you to discuss next steps*. This may include asking you to complete a phone interview and to provide further documentation.
Please Note: It may take up to 2 weeks to receive a loan if eligible.
*Speaking with you and reviewing your circumstances does not guarantee financial assistance.
A Cowichan Rent Bank Case Manager will follow up with you to discuss your application. If necessary, we may ask for more information. The Case Manager may ask for consent to contact your landlord, employer, utility service provider, and/or other service providers on your behalf.
Our Loan Review Committee will review completed applications. Loans are approved based on three criteria:
the likelihood a loan will stabilize housing,
the applicant’s financial stability, and
the applicant’s ability to repay the loan.
A Cowichan Rent Bank Case Manager will notify you of the Committee’s decision either way.
If the loan has been approved, the Case Manager will arrange a meeting with the applicant to complete the loan approval paperwork, including the loan repayment plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can a Cowichan Rent Bank Loan be used for?
The purpose of the Rent Bank loan is to assist low-to-moderate income individuals and families maintain or secure safe and sustainable housing. Funds are provided to assist with:
Next month’s rent
Essential utility arrears (e.g. heat, water, electricity)
First month’s rent
Is there a maximum amount someone can request?
Yes, there is a maximum of $3,000 based on evidence of need.
How long does the process take from application to final decision?
The Cowichan Rent Bank does not guarantee a response time due to the high volume of applicants and enquiries. However, we recognize the urgency of your situation and will contact you as soon as possible. Depending on availability and eligibility, we may be able to provide you with referrals to other resources that may be available while you wait.
How does someone pay back a Cowichan Rent Bank Loan?
This is an interest-free loan. The repayment term of a loan is determined by the amount borrowed and the borrower’s ability to repay. The maximum repayment term is 24 months.
Is there an interview to qualify for a Rent Bank Loan?
Yes, but this is more of a conversation than an interview. The Case Manger will ask you more questions about your budget and finances, to ensure that a loan is in your best interest. This discussion is an opportunity to brainstorm best solutions. The process can seem invasive; however, the goal is to determine if the applicant meets the program criteria and if the loan or grant will stabilize housing. Ultimately, the Rent Bank Case Manager wants to ensure that a loan is in your best interest and the best option for support - the process is intended to alleviate stress rather than create more!
How are the funds provided to people who are awarded a Rent Bank loan?
Cheques and electronic money transfers are directly made out to landlords and utility companies. Please note that it may take up to 2 weeks to receive the loan, if eligible.