Business Oregon Rolls Out Commercial Rent Relief Program
April 21, 2021
On April 22, 2021, Business Oregon will open round two of the Commercial Rent Relief Program providing grants to landlords to cover outstanding lease payments from small business tenants. Round two has $42 million available and applicants who were not selected during round one will automatically be included during round two.
There are a few changes beginning with round two to support additional applicants. The minimum grant is now $500 (down from $1,000), landlords can be publicly-traded businesses, and sole proprietors do no need to register their business with the Secretary of State if they are not otherwise required to do so.
Online applications for round two will be accepted starting at 9 am PST on April 22, 2021 and will close on May 6, 2021. This is not first-come, first-serve and applications will be chosen by lottery if the geographic region has more applicants than available funds.
Many of us are aware that small businesses are struggling in numerous ways, including making rent, a problem that in turn impacts commercial landlords.
In January 2021, the Oregon Legislative Emergency Board allocated $100 million to Business Oregon to aid small businesses and commercial landlords impacted by the pandemic. On March 2nd, Business Oregon announced the details of its new Commercial Rent Relief Program. This program provides a limited number of grants to landlords with tenant businesses of 100 or fewer employees that have delinquent lease payments from the period between March 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021.
The first round of the program will open for applications on Monday, March 8, 2021 and will remain open for two weeks. Eligible submissions will be chosen by lottery to move forward for approval – not processed on a first-come-first-served basis. This means applicants do not need to rush to submit their applications when the program opens on March 8th. The lottery will also be used to ensure geographic distribution across all regions of the state.
Grants will be awarded in two rounds, with $50 million distributed in Round 1 and the remainder distributed in Round 2. Grant can be up to $100,000 per each business tenant but no more than $3 million per landlord and covers only base rent in arrears due to COVID-19 impacts or restrictions. The application period for Round 2 will open in late-April. Applicants in Round 1 who are unsuccessful but still eligible will automatically be placed in the Round 2 lottery without having to reapply.
To receive grant funding, landlords must be current on all federal, state, and local taxes as of December 31, 2019. They must also agree to:
- waive any rights to enforce eviction clauses or collect outstanding penalties or interest related to delinquent lease payments for the period from March 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021; and
- not evict the tenant business for 6 months from March 1, 2021, to August 31, 2021, for non-payment.
For the initial application, the landlord—not the tenant—submits a form with basic information about both the landlord and tenant, including the base rent amount per month and the tenant’s business classification, and number of workers. Subsequent stages of the process require form submissions by the tenant and additional information from the landlord. Landlords with multiple properties and/or tenants may make multiple applications, one for each tenant business.
The applicable small business tenant must:
- be a for-profit business
- lease property in the state of Oregon
- be headquartered in the state of Oregon
- employ 100 or less employees per lease as of February 28, 2021
- be actively registered to do business in the state of Oregon with the Secretary of State
- be compliant with all federal, state, and local laws
- not be a publicly-traded company
- be open for business or intends to reopen for business when restrictions are lifted (if applicable) at the leased location.
Further program details can be found on Business Oregon’s Commercial Rent Relief Program Details page, which also includes a link to a 6-minute video guiding applicants through the process.
Our expert team of state and local tax professionals at Geffen Mesher is ready and prepared to help navigate this grant for your business and can be reached at SALT@gmco.com.