COVID-19: Latest Update on the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) Program
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA) provides forgivable loans to commercial property owners to cover up to 50% of rent payments payable by eligible small business tenants that are undergoing financial difficulties due to COVID-19. Under the program, the tenant must pay between 0% and 25% of their normal monthly gross rent and the government provides an additional 50%. Accordingly, property owners receive between 50% and 75% of the normal monthly rent and the remainder is forgiven. The property owner agrees not to evict the tenant during the months they receive funds from the program in return for the forgiveness of the government loans. Please see our earlier article for more detail on the CECRA program.
On July 31, 2020, the Governments of Canada and Ontario announced CECRA was being extended to cover August rent. CECRA originally covered the period from April to June 2020 and was previously extended to cover July rent.
Property owners and tenants that were previously approved for the April to June period can opt in for only July, or for July and August without providing additional documents or assessing whether their tenants’ revenue declined in July and August by at least 70%.
Payments will be calculated based on the average gross rents in the April to June period for which supporting documentation was submitted. Property owners can select the individual tenants to whom they want to apply the extension from the original application. Additional tenants may not be added.
Property owners who did not previously apply for the July extension can now only apply for an extension once – applying for July now and August later is not permitted. Those who did not previously opt in for the July extension will receive a second payment for July or July and August. Those who previously opted in for the July extension will receive a third payment for August.
Property owners can apply for April to June and opt in for the July and August extensions through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The deadline for new applications remains August 31, 2020, and the deadline for previous applicants to opt-in for July or July and August is September 14, 2020.
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