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The Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA) is a new program designed to provide immediate financial relief to landlords and small businesses due to the impact of COVID-19.

Ottawa, ON — The Ontario Government has agreed to over $240 million in partnership with the federal government in order to supply more than $900 million in urgent assistance. The OCECRA will include loan tolerances to commercial property owners that prove eligibility. The eligibility criteria surround shortfalls in rent loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing rent deficits from small business tenants who’ve been adversely affected by the pandemic.

How the Program Works:

Property owners are required to reduce rent for small business tenants between April and June 2020 by a minimum of 75% (and a halt on evictions). The loan is also dependent on a rent forgiveness accordance signed by the impacted tenants and landlords. The tenant and landlord parties are each called upon to pay 25% of the before profit costs. The provincial and federal governments tandem to share the remaining 50% (12.5% and 37.5% respectively).

OCECRA Application Window:

The OCECRA program portal is reportedly opening mid-May and will be available for application until September 30, 2020. The financial support would be retroactive in nature covering the months of April through June. The OCECRA will be handled through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Eligibility for Commercial Property Owners:

  • The commercial property includes small business tenants, a residential component, or is a residential mixed-use property with a 30% commercial component (to be eligible for commercial tenant support)
  • The property owner must be the registered owner and landlord of the residential and/or commercial property
  • The property owner should have a secured mortgage from a commercial rental property (if not, the property owner should contact the CMHC to discuss program options, e.g. applying funds against other debt facilities/fixed costs)

Eligibility for Small Businesses:

  • The small business pays monthly rent that does not exceed $50,000 in gross rent payments
  • The small business is a non-essential one that has temporarily closed or is experiencing a 70% drop or more in pre-COVID-19 revenues (i.e. comparing revenues in April, May or June 2020 to the same month in 2019 or by comparing the averages to those of January and February 2020)
  • Not-for-profit organizations and charities will also be considered

Exclusions to the OCECRA Program:

  1. Entities owned by individuals holding political office
  2. Entities that promote violence, incite hatred or discriminate on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability
  3. An entity in the Lenders special accounts or Restructuring Group prior to March 1, 2020

Resources:

Real Strategy Advisors have already helped several tenants negotiate short-term COVID-19 relief. Please contact Darren Fleming (dfleming@realstrategy.com) if you’re looking to have a conversation with your landlord or are currently in talks with them. You can also reach out to Real Strategy Advisors (hq@realstrategy.com) today for more information on commercial real estate and how to obtain relief in these uncertain times.