SASKATOON --  An advocacy group for landlords in the province is calling on Premier Scott Moe to set up a provincially-funded rent bank, to offer landlords and renters immediate financial relief for those impacted by COVID-19.

"We know tenants are going to have trouble paying for rent come April 1 because of job losses, layoffs and lower hours at work and we know income has been affected," Saskatchewan Landlord Association executive officer Cameron Choquette said.

With April rent due in about a week's time, Choquette said his association is encouraging landlords and tenants to open the lines of communication and see if they can work out a payment plan.

However, Choquette said there will be some cases where landlords cannot afford to allow their tenants forgiveness on a month’s rent because of their own financial situation.

On Sunday the association sent Moe and a handful of other provincial cabinet ministers a letter, requesting the province move to immediately create and fund a "rent bank" to support Saskatchewan renters that are financially affected by COVID-19.

In the letter, Choquette said the model of a rent bank is well-proven in other jurisdictions across Canada including Ontario and British Columbia.

"Funds disbursed through a provincially-funded rent bank would be paid directly to landlords, ensuring that the funds are used for the intended purpose," he said.