VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The B.C. government is banning commercial landlords who refuse to apply for federal assistance from evicting small businesses that can’t pay rent due to the pandemic.
The order is meant to support the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program and restricts the termination of lease agreements and the repossession of goods and property, says a government release.
“The federal launch of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program has been a welcome step in B.C., but 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,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance.
“We’re listening to small businesses and have their backs. Preventing landlords who are eligible for CECRA from evicting tenants can encourage landlords to apply for the program and give some temporary relief to businesses who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”
Encouragement is what we are doing with this order @carolejames says
We need small biz to restart – we need them to to recover the economy.
To landlords she says: Having a long-term, dependable tenant is a benefit – the commercial rent relief will help#bcpoli @NEWS1130 #covid19
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) June 1, 2020
The emergency order restricting evictions is effective immediately and will continue for as long as the federal program is in place, which is currently until the end of June.
B.C. could extend the order if the federal program is, as well, James added.
The federal program is offering forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to reduce the rent for small business experiencing severe financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75 per cent reduction for the months of April, May, and June. 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.
The federal program loans to landlords will be forgiven if they comply with program terms and conditions, including an agreement to not recover forgiven rent amounts when the program is over.