Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Businesses
We know that the support available to people and businesses affected by COVID-19 can be confusing to navigate. To help simplify it, we’ve laid out the basics of CECRA for small businesses below and included some simple checklists and templates — so you can take advantage of the support you need now. Video at the end of this article is a replay of our Zoom call.
What is CECRA?
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) provides relief to small businesses financially impacted by COVID-19 in the form of unsecured, forgivable loans* given to eligible commercial property owners. These loans allow commercial property owners to provide rent reductions of at least 75% to their impacted small business tenants and help cover operating expenses on their commercial properties.
*This means these loans require no collateral and will be forgiven on December 31, 2020 provided you have complied with all terms and conditions.
Who is eligible for CECRA?
To be eligible, you must:
- own commercial property that is occupied by at least one impacted small business tenant, defined as a business (including non-profit and charitable organizations) that:
- pays no more than $50,000 in monthly gross rent per location
- generates no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues
- has experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues
- enter (or have already entered) into a legally binding rent reduction agreement for the period of April, May and June 2020* that reduces the impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75%
- ensure the rent reduction agreement includes:
- a moratorium (or temporary prohibition) on eviction for the same period
- a declaration of rental revenue included in the attestation (templates provided below)
There are some exceptions to eligibility which can be found here.
*Property owners will be required to reimburse the impacted tenants for any rent paid above 25% during this period, unless the tenant chooses to apply the previously paid rent against future rent.
As a commercial property owner, why should I help my tenants through CECRA?
Our industry, like many, has been massively affected by COVID-19. While the success of our industry as a whole requires us to pull together and support each other, there are many personal benefits to helping your tenants as a property owner:
- Your property depends on the success of your tenants. If your tenant declares bankruptcy and you have to evict, you will receive zero rental income and continue to be responsible for mortgage, property tax and maintenance costs — just to name a few
- Finding a new tenant can be a lengthy process that incurs additional costs to you
- You risk having to rent your space at a lower rate post-pandemic
- You’ll get up to 75%* of your typical rent for April, May and June while providing your tenant with room to recover and remain viable post-COVID — much more financially beneficial than losing and replacing your tenants
*50% from CECRA and 25% from your tenant
How do I apply for CECRA?
Find the full details here and apply by August 31, 2020. You will be notified within two weeks of your application if you are approved.
We have included a checklist below of what property owners will need to provide in their application. Find those below along with other useful templates and working documents.