Rent assistance program for small businesses
On Friday, April 24th, the Government of Canada announced a national program in collaboration with the provinces and territories for small businesses to reduce commercial rents by 75%.
The Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA) will deliver over $900 million to small businesses and their landlords. The program applies to commercial properties with small business tenants and will be operational mid-May.
Administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the support is retroactive to April 1st, covering April, May and June 2020, and will be available until September 30, 2020.
The program is designed to share the cost between small business tenants and landlords. Small business tenants and landlords will each pay 25% of the before profit costs, with the provincial and federal government sharing the remaining 50%.
To receive the loan, property owners must reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75%. The loan is also contingent on a signed rent forgiveness agreement between impacted tenants and landlords and includes a moratorium on evictions for three months.
Eligible small business tenants include those who:
- Pay monthly rent not exceeding $50,000 in gross rent payments
- Are non-essential small businesses that have either closed temporarily, or have experienced a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues
- Non-profits and charitable organizations are also eligible for the program.
- Commercial properties with a residential component, and residential mixed-use properties with a 30% commercial component are eligible for support for their commercial tenants.
Property owners who do not have a mortgage secured by a commercial rental property should contact CMHC to discuss program options, which may include applying funds against other forms of debt facilities or fixed cost payment obligations, such as utilities.