Retail landlords are faced with a terrible choice, when it comes to retail tenants not paying rent due to fall in revenues as a result of COVID-19. The landlords can either accept the government aid package (Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program or CECRA) and take a 25% hit to rental revenues or evict non-paying tenants.
Landlords accepting the CECRA program must offer a minimum of a 75 per cent rent reduction to small to mid-size business that have suffered at least a 70 per cent downturn in revenues for the months of April, May and June 2020. They must apply for the assistance, which will be in the form of forgivable loans to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants. Small business tenants would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent. In addition, businesses eligible for rent support from the federal government (CECRA) will be protected from evictions as per the B.C. government's June 1 order under the Emergency Program Act (EPA).