Following the Federal government’s April announcement of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, application and eligibility details have finally emerged. CECRA, which is a joint initiative with the Provinces and Territories, will lower rent by 75% for eligible small businesses for April, May and June by offering eligible landlords forgivable loans of 50% of three monthly gross rent payments for the same period. Tenants may pay up to 25% of the remaining monthly gross rent with the eligible landlord absorbing the remainder. Application documents are available now and landlords can begin applying on May 25th.
As of September 8, 2020, CECRA has been extended to include July, August and September rents.
There are several criteria for landlords to satisfy to be CECRA-eligible:
- Own commercial real property which is occupied by one or more impacted small business tenants
- Enter (or have already entered) into a legally binding rent reduction agreement which includes:
- reducing an impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75% for April, May and June 2020
- a moratorium on eviction for the period during which the property owner agrees to apply the loan proceeds
- a declaration of rental revenue included in the attestation
- The owner of the property is not and is not controlled by an individual holding federal or provincial political office
- Properties with or without a mortgage are eligible under CECRA for small businesses
In addition, small business tenants (including non-profit and charitable organizations) must satisfy several criteria to qualify for CECRA:
- Pay no more than $50,000 per month in gross rent per location
- Generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis at the ultimate parent level
- If the tenant or its ultimate parent does not produce consolidated statements, the annual revenues of the tenant will apply.
- Have had their revenues reduced by at least 70% as compared to pre-COVID revenues
- Small businesses can compare revenues in April, May and June of 2020 to the same months in 2020 or use an average of their revenues earned in January and February of 2020, similar to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
- Revenue reduction will be determined using the average of April, May and forecasting June.
The required attestations, agreements and information are listed below and the application portal opens on May 25th which is accessed via the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website. Landlords must apply for all 3 months at the same time and all impacted tenants must be on a single application. Landlords are responsible for applying for the program and can do so until August 31, 2020.
CECRA Application Checklist
- Tenant or Sub-tenant’s Attestation
- Each eligible commercial small business must sign an attestation. Tenants are responsible for attesting to their eligibility.
- Property Owner’s Attestation
- Rent Reduction Agreement
- Property owners must enter into an agreement with each impacted tenant
- Forgivable Loan Agreement
- Property Information
- Includes address, type, tax statement, latest rent roll and number of commercial units
- Applicant Information
- Banking information (including bank statement) property owner contact information, co-ownership information and contact details
- Tenant Information
- Tenant contact information, registered business name, lease area and monthly gross rent for April, May and June 2020
- The funds, in order of priority, can be used for reimbursing impacted tenants for any rent paid above 25% during the period and any costs and expenses related directly to the property.
- The interest-free loan will be forgiven on December 31, 2020.
- Non-arms length landlords and tenants are included as long as there was a valid enforceable lease agreement and the lease is at market rates.
The Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation is administering the program and funds will be disbursed directly to the mortgage lender. MCAP and First Canadian Title (FCT) have been engaged to deliver CECRA. Businesses may be contacted by either MCAP or FCT throughout the applicant validation and funding processes. FAQs for landlords and small business owners are also available on the CMHC website.