Provincial and Federal Governments have been working on measures to assist businesses and workforces due to a COVID-19 economic crisis. The focus now needs to be on property taxes, landlords and property owners.
“April 1st is tomorrow,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “Many businesses will be unable to pay rent due to no cash flow. Landlords and property owners will be unable to fulfill their own obligations, and very soon we will see a default on mortgages, commercial property taxes not being paid and a decline in property maintenance.”
“The Surrey Board of Trade has many members who have voiced strong concerns and questions about rewriting leases and re-mortgaging properties, others who say they won’t be paying their rent on April 1.”
“The true economic reality is that rents and leases will not be paid for some, property taxes will not be paid, commercial leases will not be paid and construction projects – including purpose-built rentals will be stopped or delayed.”
“The Surrey Board of Trade has always said from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that business needs cash flow, not to go further into debt.”
The Surrey Board of Trade is calling on the Federal Government to:
· Provide aid to commercial landlords in order for landlords to voluntarily reduce or waive rent for their tenants by paying 60% of small business rent up to $6,000 per month from April to June, which is to be paid directly to landlords in exchange for them waiving the first $10,000 of commercial rent; and,
· Create the framework for all municipalities to immediately implement a rent abatement strategy prior to April 1 in order to avoid significant confusion and mass lockouts of businesses on that date.
The Surrey Board of Trade, is calling on the Provincial Government to:
· Introduce a 50% school tax exemption applied to Class 1;
· Rescind additional school tax;
· Put a moratorium on commercial lease lockouts, preventing landlords from locking out tenants on April 1;
· Extend the due date for commercial and business property tax bills to September 30th; and,
· Remove the speculation and vacancy tax from development land.
Further, the Surrey Board of Trade is calling on all orders of government to:
· Work together to put significant pressure on all banks, credit unions, and lenders to defer property debt principal payments without accruing interest;
· Reduce loan and credit card interest rates; and,
· Agree on a property tax and utilities abatement strategy for April, May, and June.
Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342, firstname.lastname@example.org