Feds' rent relief welcome, and just in time for many in N.B.
MONCTON, N.B. -- The federal government has come up with some relief for commercial tenants having trouble making the rent.
It comes just in time for some who are short of cash and is particularly welcome in New Brunswick where all residential and commercial rent exemptions are coming to an end.
The help is coming after an unpredictable few months for local businesses forced to close their doors due to the COVID-19 crisis.
"Many are trying to pay some rent, there are some who aren't able to pay anything," said Downtown Moncton Centre-Ville Inc. board chair Jocelyne Dupuis. "They have had a little bit of relief in knowing that they can't be evicted, but I think all along they've been looking forward at what's going to happen when we do have to pay rent."
Part of New Brunswick's emergency order prevented residents and businesses from being evicted if they could not afford rent.
But after May 31, rent willbe required and those who can't pay it could face potential eviction.
"If you're not allowed to reopen at a certain date, you have that overhead hanging on top of you and they're basically asking for that rent," said Ron Cormier the president of the Greater Shediac Chamber of Commerce."I mean it does add extra pressure."
With the loss of income and added expenses for personal protective equipment it's left many tenants with few options on howto stay open.
"Businesses, I believe, want to try to pay some rent, but they're not necessarily in a position that they can," said Dupuis."So, right now they'll be 25 per cent rent, which they're saying 'that's great, but I might not even have 25 per cent right now.'"
There was some relief Wednesday from Ottawa with the introduction of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program.
"This benefit will provide forgivable loans to landlords so that they can reduce by 75 per cent the rent for small business tenants that have lost the majority of their revenue because of COVID-19," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
But even with some help, there are more questions than answers when it comes to the future of some local businesses.
"Am I going to be able to pay that rent? Am I going to be able to pay my bills?" Cormier asked. "There's so many unknowns that it sits in the back of your mind, and it weighs."
As the economy begins to reopen, commercial tenants are hoping for a surge in customers and local support, to keep their businesses afloat.