B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Some B.C. commercial property owners aren’t applying for Ottawa’s 75 per cent rent subsidy, and the province is moving to prevent them from evicting small business tenants.

Finance Minister Carole James announced June 1 that a new B.C. emergency order prevents landlords from passing on the program and then evicting tenants. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program has been open for about a week, providing forgivable loans, and some landlords “don’t want to bother applying,” James said.

The ban on evictions for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 will continue as long as the federal program continues, James said. If it is extended beyond June 30 the B.C. order will also be extended.

The provincial order restricts the termination of lease agreements and repossession of property and goods from a business in the property.

RELATED: B.C.’s home rent supplement offers $3-500 through June

RELATED: Some commercial landlords offer rent deferrals in pandemic

The federal program opened May 24, offering loans to landlords for up to 75 per cent of their owed rent if they reduce the tenant’s rent by at least that much for April, May and June. If the landlord meets criteria, including not trying to recover the forgiven rent later, the federal loan is forgiven.


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