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Ford goes after “vicious” commercial landlords

Ontario Premier Doug Ford made an appeal to commercial landlords in the province, calling some of them “vicious,” one day before they are legally allowed to evict tenants for non-payment of rent. “Give these small businesses a break, they work their backs off and they’re trying to survive,” Ford said Friday.

Ontario’s Commercial Tenancies Act allows landlords to evict businesses 16 days after rent is due.The federal and provincial governments’ Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program allows tenants to pay just 25 per cent of their regular rent, with the feds and province covering a further 25 per cent each, provided the landlord waives the remainder.

But the program has been criticized as confusing and also requires landlords to apply for assistance, and many, for a variety of reasons, are not.Ford asked landlords to have a heart.

“Help someone up, give them a break and work with them for a couple of months,” he said, adding demand for commercial space is basically nil right now.

“What do the landlords think, there’s going to have an army of people wanting to move in (after an eviction,” Ford said.

Several surveys conducted in Toronto have shown that the majority of small businesses tenants say they cannot afford to pay all of their May rent.

“You either get zero or 75 per cent, and not only do you get zero, you’re still paying costs like electricity, you’re still paying maintenance, you’re still paying taxes. Hang in there, work with them for 25 per cent, be a good landlord, support them,” said Ford. “You know what drives me crazy, I can’t stand these vicious landlords. You’ve got to protect the little guy all the time.”

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