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I’m a small business owner in BC. We had to close because of COVID-19 Coronavirus. Can my landlord still make me pay rent?

13, 04-2021

Probably yes. First, consult your lease, and see if there’s any clause that you can point out that can relieve you of the obligation to pay rent during the pandemic. No matter what, try to keep communication lines open. Your landlord is no doubt aware of the situation. Perhaps you can defer the rent payment, or agree to just pay a part of it for a few months. 

If you have insurance, call your broker. It may be that you’re covered for business interruption insurance and can make a claim for compensation at this time.

Otherwise, the Business Development Bank of Canada has an emergency loan program for entrepreneurs. Take a look at the federal government announcement on how they intend to support businesses, including tax deferrals and paying part of employee wages.

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021. This program will cover up to 65 percent of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue declines, with an extra 25 per cent available to the hardest-hit firms. See the Government of Canada to learn more and/or apply.

For more help and information for businesses, see Small Business BC’s new COVID-19 Support Service.

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