Finding a safe and affordable place to live with rising inflation and an affordability crisis is difficult for everyone, but Canadian renters are four times more likely to struggle with core housing needs than homeowners.
As a result, eligible Canadian renters can apply for the Canada Housing Benefit — a tax-free $500 one-time payment to lower-income individuals and families —through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
"The one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit is crucial in helping low-income renters, who are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. It is meant to help our most vulnerable neighbours by offering immediate relief during these challenging times," said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, in a press release.
"Through this payment, our government is demonstrating its commitment to helping those who need it most. This additional support will make a real difference in the lives of many Canadians."
Who is eligible?
To be an eligible candidate for the benefit, Canadians must:
- have filed a 2021 tax return;
- be at least 15 years of age as of December 1, 2022;
- be a resident in Canada in 2022 for tax purposes;
- have an adjusted family net income of $20,000 or less for individuals or $35,000 or less for families;
- have paid at least 30% of their 2021 adjusted family net income on rent for their principal residence in the 2022 calendar year; and
- be able to provide their 2022 address(es) and landlord's contact information.
After applying, Canadians can expect to receive their payment as a direct deposit within five business days.
If Canadians cannot apply online, they can apply by calling the CRA's new dedicated phone line at 1-800-282-8079.
As with any tax or benefit, it is important to retain receipts or documentation for six years in case the CRA seeks validation. If a recipient is found to be ineligible, they will be required to pay back the benefit.