Last week, the Federal Government announced a new program with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. As of June 29th, 2020, the federal government has extended the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program by one month. The program was initially intended to support small businesses during the months of April, May, and June.
The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners if the mortgaged property owners agree to reduce the small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% under a rent forgiveness agreement (including a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place). The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25% of the rent.
CECRA for small businesses offers you a forgivable loan worth 50% of the value of your small business’ rent each month. The loans will be forgiven if you comply with all applicable program terms and conditions – including to not recover forgiven rent amounts when the program is over.
How does a small business qualify for the CECRA?
- You own property that generates rental revenue from commercial real property located in Canada.
- You are the property owner of the commercial real property where the impacted small business tenants are located.
- You have a mortgage loan secured by the commercial real property, occupied by one or more small business tenants.*
- You have entered or will enter into a rent reduction agreement for the period of April, May, and June 2020, which will reduce impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75%.
- Your rent reduction agreement with impacted tenants includes a moratorium on eviction for the period of April, May and June 2020.
- You have declared rental income on your tax return (personal or corporate) for tax years 2018 and/or 2019.
CECRA for small businesses doesn’t apply to any properties owned by the federal, provincial, or municipal governments. There are certain exceptions where there are long-term commercial leases with third parties to operate the property including:
- Post-secondary institutions
- A pension fund
- First Nation and any indigenous organizations and governments
- Crown corporation with limited appropriations, designated as eligible under CECRA by CMHC
NOTE: Small businesses that opened on or after March 1, 2020, are not eligible.
* For those property owners who do not have a mortgage, an alternative mechanism will be implemented. Further information will be outlined in the near future.
What is an impacted small business tenant?
Impacted small business tenants are businesses, including non-profit and charitable organizations who:
- pay no more than $50,000 in monthly gross rent per location (as defined by a valid and enforceable lease agreement),
- generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis (at the ultimate parent level), and
- have temporarily ceased operations (i.e. generating no revenues), or has experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues.
For assistance in communicating with your current landlord regarding the program, visit the link here for pre-designed templates to assist with putting the policies into place.
How to Apply:
The application portal is opening on May 25, 2020. As part of the application, you must provide a rent reduction agreement(s) and landlord and tenant attestations.
The CMHC is requesting that those wanting to apply register on specific days to help manage volume. Property owners who are located in Atlantic Canada, BC, Alberta and Quebec, with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program, are to register on day one.
Property owners will need to provide information in support of their application, sign an attestation and agree to the terms and conditions of the loan agreement in order to be eligible for the program.
- Tenant or Sub-tenant’s Attestation (sample PDF): Property owners must have each of their eligible commercial small business tenants and/or subtenants sign an attestation. The Tenants are responsible for attesting to their eligibility with the program requirements.
- Property Owner’s Attestation (sample PDF): Property owners must sign an attestation confirming the information relating to the property owner and the property provided in the application is correct and attest to their eligibility with the program requirements.
- Rent Reduction Agreement (sample PDF): Property owners must enter into a legally binding rent reduction agreement with each impacted tenant to confirm the rent reduction in accordance with the program terms and conditions. This agreement is conditional upon final approval of the application for CECRA for small businesses.
- Forgivable Loan Agreement (sample PDF): Property owners must agree to the terms and conditions in the application and outline in the forgivable loan agreement.
Property owner information
- Property information includes: property address, property type, property tax statement, latest rent roll for each property and the number of commercial units
- Applicant information includes: banking information (including bank statement), property owner contact information, co-ownership information and contact details for co-owners
- Tenant information includes: tenant contact information, registered business name, lease area and the monthly gross rent for the period of April, May and June 2020
For the 1- or 2-month Extension:
Those who qualified for CECRA for small businesses based on existing program parameters will be able to apply for the additional 1 or 2 months based on having a 70% revenue decline for April, May and June (for example, without reassessing whether they continue to have a 70% revenue decline in July and August). Participation in the 1 or 2-month extension is voluntary. Both existing applicants to CECRA for small businesses and new applicants will be able to apply for the August rent reduction.
The August extension details are coming soon:
- If you have previously been approved, you automatically qualify and no additional documents are required. You must log in to the portal and opt-in for your impacted tenants.
- If you haven’t yet applied for CECRA for small businesses, you can apply for July as part of your entire application.
- If you haven’t yet submitted an application, you must apply by August 31, 2020.
- If you have been previously approved, you must apply for the July and when available, August extension by September 14, 2020.