Doug Ford warns greedy commercial landlords in Ontario not to push him
Like Toronto Mayor John Tory did less than two weeks ago, Ontario Premier Doug Ford came out swinging today against commercial landlords who've failed help their tenants with rent amid the ongling pandemic — only his words were even stronger.
"Don't push me," said Ford in a message to such companies during his daily press conference on Tuesday.
"These big landlords want to take advantage of small little companies and people that are struggling? I'm going to come down on them like they've never seen before."
"Nothing drives me more crazy than greedy landlords," says Premier Doug Ford. "Don't push me."— Elamin Abdelmahmoud (@elamin88) May 19, 2020
Municipal politicians, advocates and small business owners have been pleading with Ford in recent months to ban commerical evictions while mandatory closure orders remain in place, as he did with residential evictions when the pandemic first hit.
The province has held off on doing so thus far, however, in the hopes that landlords and business owners can cooperate on their own, especially once the federal government launches its commercial rent assistance program (OCECRA) next week.
Landlords who qualify for OCECRA benefits will recieve up to 75 per cent of the regular rent paid by their tentants while emergency orders remain in effect — 25 per cent of it paid by the renters themselves and 50 per cent paid for by the federal and provincial governments.
Some landlords have already stated that they won't be applying, complaining that too many rules and stipulations apply or that they can't accept anything less than 100 per cent of the rent.
Business owners — those who haven't already been evicted from their spaces, that is — argue that allowing landlords to apply for the benefit by choice is unfair.
Government officials seem hopeful that commercial property owners will play ball and do the right thing, but neither Ford nor Tory have been shy about what will happen if they don't.
"If more landlords don't start doing the right thing, I believe the Ford government will have no alternative but to ban commercial evictions, as I have been urging them to do for several weeks now," said Tory on May 8 during a press conference. "At least during the period of the emergency."
Ford himself seemed to confirm this claim while speaking to the issue today.
"A message to all these landlords: Don't force my hand. Don't force my hand, work things out, because I'm trying to compromise here," said a passionate Ford on Tuesday.
"We're giving you 75 per cent of what you're asking for," he continued. "Nothing drives me more crazy than greedy landlords taking advantage of people and small business owners that are just trying to keep their head above water.
"Cooperate," he warned. "It's not going to be forever.. It's going to be for a few months. Help people out. You have an obligation to do that as a landlord."
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