Businesses eligible for rent support protected from evictions

Marco Green
June 4, 2020

"That is why CFIB joined with the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association, the Retail Council of Canada, Restaurants Canada and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and sent an open letter to Premier Moe calling on the province to implement temporary commercial eviction protection for tenants (who were in good standing with their landlords prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) during this unprecedented time".

Earlier Monday, Finance Minister Carole James announced small businesses struggling to pay rent this month will be protected from eviction by an emergency government order that encourages landlords to take advantage of a federal relief program.

The EPA order restricts the termination of lease agreements and the repossession of goods and property.

James says the federal and B.C. governments will cover 50 per cent of the rent payments, while the tenants are responsible for 25 per cent of the rent and landlords cover the remaining 25 per cent.

Through CECRA, property owners are expected to offer a minimum rent reduction of 75 per cent for April, May and June a loss of at least 70 per cent in revenue.

The emergency order restricting evictions is effective immediately, as well, James said.

Launched on May 24, the CECRA program was designed by the federal government and is delivered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The province says the CECRA program "provides relief" for small businesses experiencing severe financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Local reaction to the program was mixed.

"I expect that it will, I hope, make a difference in encouraging those landlords to apply now that they won't be able to evict those tenants".

Commercial real estate veteran Randy Holt, of Devencore Victoria, said most landlords would prefer to keep their tenants in place and many of them have been working with them over the last few months to keep them out of the red by deferring, forgiving or reducing rent.

"We have to collectively use our imaginations", said Dix, adding rallies could be split into numerous smaller groups rather than one large gathering.

"We heard from small businesses that they need us to help fill a gap that has left some of them unable to get the support they need", James said in a release.

As B.C. continues the second phase of its restart plan, James says that employment numbers will likely remain bleak until later into the summer, when employment data can better reflect the province's economic restart efforts.

As of Monday, more than 500,000 people had applied for B.C.'s Emergency Benefit for Workers, a one-time payment of $1,000 for British Columbians whose work has been impacted by the pandemic.

The emergency order should be viewed as an encouragement to landlords to allow small businesses to rebuild, the minister said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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