Improving Your Small Business Landlord / Tenant Relationship in Canada


Improving Your Small Business Landlord / Tenant Relationship in Canada

Home Keys

The landlord/tenant relationship is one that can be fraught with complications, distrust and uncertainty, especially in the current situation.

Small businesses are likely to be at the forefront of those suffering problems currently, with the world economy taking a nosedive after a terrible 2020. Whilst business takes a hit, landlords might see tenants defaulting on payments and struggling to make ends meet. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses was recently extended by another month to help eligible small businesses pay rent, which was great news for parties on both sides of the rental market. Whilst the government is doing its bit to ensure some stable ground for suffering individuals, as a landlord there is plenty you can do to help your tenants and their business survive.

We have put together a practical guide which should help landlords through the tough times and improve the relationship with small business tenants at the same time.

Know the Law

It is vitally important at this time to know the law surrounding default payments and what is and is not permitted under Canadian Law. Bloomberg suggests that things have the potential to go wrong with any relationship, but that you can minimize your losses by knowing exactly where you and your tenant stand at any given time.


Knowing your rights and your tenant’s rights is a great grounding for a consistent relationship, but how you apply those rules and communicate them is equally as important. Remember, a small business has the same pressures you have as a landlord, such as bills, responsibilities and commitments. Communicate situations to your tenants as you would like them to communicate to you. In doing so, you may be able to alleviate problems before they occur, or diffuse situations that may be brewing in the background.


One of the negative aspects of owning a property is the constant need for repairs and upkeep, something many landlords will subcontract out to tradesmen to save time. However, in the current climate, that may not be economically viable, but your tenant may still need swift resolutions to problems. Making small repairs and fixes to your property may not require external expertise. A guide to fixing a leaking stopcock by HomeServe Living shows how it can be done without the need for a professional plumber, making the repairs relatively low cost. However, in reacting quickly and efficiently, you will help to strengthen the relationship between yourself and the tenant.


One of the most important aspects of any tenant/landlord relationship is respect. If you receive respect from your tenant, both in the way they deal with you and the way they treat your property, then it is vital to give the same back. By knowing your position and communicating well, you are already halfway towards a good relationship, but try to empathize with them, as well as ensuring they understand your position and pressures you face. Simply by respecting one another, you can build an effective relationship which should allow both of you to get through the challenging times we are currently experiencing.

If you are looking for more information around property transactions in the current climate, be sure to refer to our article entitled OREA Publishes Guidelines to Protect Home Buyers and Sellers for up to date guidance on the subject.