The CMHC has posted some additional information on its website regarding the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses.
While the CMHC’s comments are helpful, it is important to remember that there is no legislation on the CECRA program, draft or otherwise. Once legislation implementing the CECRA program has been passed into law, the final details may differ from what is discussed here. Learn more here.
Who Is Eligible To Apply For The CECRA For Small Businesses Program?
To qualify for CECRA for small businesses, the property owner must meet the following requirements:
- 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, 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.
* 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. DMCL – Prime Minister Trudeau’s press release gave the impression that only mortgaged properties would qualify. It appears that this is not the case.
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 revenue loss, 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 For Small Businesses Program Work?
CMHC administers the program on behalf of the Government of Canada and our provincial and territorial partners.
The program offers assistance for the months of April, May and June, 2020.
- It can be applied retroactively.
- Property owners may still apply for assistance once the 3-month period has ended if they can prove eligibility during those months.
- Property owners must refund amounts paid by the small business tenant for the 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.
CMHC will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners.
- 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).
Note: If you are a tenant and struggle to pay your portion, alternate programs are available to assist you.
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.
How Do I Apply For The CECRA For Small Businesses Program?
Program details including how funds will be disbursed and how to apply are being finalized and will be available soon.
Please speak to your DMCL advisor about your circumstances and to understand the tax impact on you or your organization.