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After local and federal governments closed schools, halted non-essential activity, told businesses to close and told Canadians to stay at home, revenues have evaporated for many businesses. And some cannot make their rent or lease payments in the coming months.

This week, Toronto Mayor John Tory urged all residential and small business landlords across the city “to do what they can to help tenants who suddenly find themselves in very different circumstances due to this pandemic.” He also mentioned that a number of companies have detailed policies in place to assist tenants whose income has been diminished due to this health crisis. But he said many had not communicated anything to reassure their anxious tenants, especially those with rent due on the April 1. Meanwhile, Doug Ford’s provincial government announced that eviction notices and orders have been temporarily suspended.

While the city does not have the power to direct landlords to defer rent payments, Mayor Tory told landlords to work with tenants who are facing financial uncertainty. He also asked commercial property landlords to help small businesses with the timing of rent payments in light of severe cash-flow difficulties.

In Quebec, one of Canada’s biggest commercial property landlords, Ivanhoé Cambridge, said it is deferring rent for its retailers in Quebec and others are working on rent deferrals for their hardest hit tenants. The rent reprieve is aimed at alleviating liquidity problems of tenants at its shopping centres in Quebec and to support the province’s economy.

While private property and commercial property landlords are not mandated to help their tenants with deferral payments, one thing is sure, this pandemic requires a compassionate and collaborative effort from everyone involved. Please reach out if you need help assessing your CRE situation.

(photo by PYMTS)