75% of downtown Toronto business owners say they won't be able to pay May rent
Most downtown business owners in Toronto won't be able to pay rent this May according to a survey done by a neighbourhood business association.
The Corktown Residents and Business Association conducted a survey of 43 business owners over a ten-day period from March 26 to April 4. 75 per cent responded that they cannot pay May rent, and almost 30 per cent have not yet paid April.
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"The Province needs to implement a Commercial Rent Freeze immediately," says Aaron Binder, President of the Corktown Residents and Business Association. "Commercial Landlords are still expecting businesses to pay up after being shut down."
Responses to the survey indicate that adaptive measures like new revenue models, cost-cutting strategies, and offering takeout, delivery, pre-payment or online services have not been successful for most businesses.
While nine in ten business owners had tried to make at least one change to generate revenue, only one in ten felt these measures were effective.
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"Our analysis of financials with business owners indicates that these measures will not be nearly enough on their own to cover fixed costs," say the survey results. "Nine out of ten have tried some measure to reduce costs, including one third have limited hours, one half have delayed payments."
The survey also found that one in five business owners don't qualify for loans or aren't sure if they do and that four out of ten have applied or will apply for loans, but one in five business owners are not willing to take a loan (i.e. go into debt) to continue paying operating costs.
"Several respondents indicated difficulty getting any cooperation from commercial landlords on negotiating rent," the survey results say. "This is a consistent theme we have heard across the community."
Overall, three quarters of businesses responding reported an 80 per cent drop in revenue, even businesses remaining open reporting a decline in revenue of more than 40 per cent in March.
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