Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for Small Businesses

The CECRA program offers forgivable loans to commercial property owners. This in turn allows the owners to reduce the rents owed by their small business tenants by at least 75% for the months of April, May and June 2020.

Eligibility

In order to qualify for CECRA, a commercial property owner must meet the following criteria.

  • 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, that 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.

Keep in mind that an alternative mechanism will be put in place for property owners who do not have a mortgage. More details on this will be made available shortly.

CECRA for small businesses is applicable to commercial property owners with:

  • Eligible small business tenants 
  • Eligible small business subtenants 
  • Residential components and multi-unit residential properties with commercial tenants (i.e. mixed usage)

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.

To measure decline in revenue, small businesses can compare revenues in April, May and June of 2020 to that of the same month of 2019. They can also use an average of their revenues earned in January and February of 2020. 

How Does the CECRA Program Work

  • The Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CHMC) and its provincial and territorial partners will administer the program.
  • The program will offer assistance for the months of April, May and June 2020.
  • It can be applied retroactively.
  • Property owners can still apply for assistance even if the 3 month period has ended. They will need to prove their eligibility during those months.
  • Owners will need to refund amounts paid by their small business tenants for that period.
  • If rent has been collected at the time of approval, a credit to the tenant for a future month’s rent (i.e. July for April) is acceptable if agreed upon by both the property owner and the tenant. This can be a flexible 3-month period. 
  • The deadline to apply is August 31, 2020.

Amount of the Loan

  • The loans will cover 50% of the gross rent owed by impacted small business tenants during the 3-month period of April, May and June 2020.
  • The property owner will be responsible for no less than half of the remaining 50% of the gross rent payments (paying no less than 25% of the total).
  • The small business tenant will be responsible for no more than half of the remaining 50% of the gross rent payments (paying no more than 25% of the total).

How to Apply

Details on how you can apply and how the funds will be disbursed are being finalized and will be made available soon.

Important Point

CECRA for small businesses loans will be forgiven if the property owner complies with all applicable program terms and conditions including to not seek to recover rent abatement amounts after the program is over.

For advice on your specific situation, contact Syed A. Raza Professional Corporation and get a free consultation.

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