The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) understands the physical distancing and isolation measures used to combat the spread of COVID-19 have created new and very real economic stress on Northwest Territories (NWT) residents, families, businesses, Indigenous governments and communities. To ease some of the burden, Shane Thompson, Minister of Lands announced the Department intends to waive rent on existing surface dispositions on public land, for the fiscal year 2020-21.
The Department of Lands says rent relief is available to all holders of existing recreational, residential, and commercial and mining surface dispositions on public land. Surface dispositions are usually leases, but there are a small number of other types of dispositions such as easements or licences of occupation, that will also be eligible for relief.
The rent relief applies retroactively from April 1, 2020 until March 31, 2021. This will allow all leaseholders to receive the same rent relief as those who received it at the beginning of the pandemic. The rent relief does not apply to new applications received after April 1, 2020.
If you have already paid rent that was due during this period and your account is in good standing, your payment will automatically be refunded.
This initiative will leave a little over $2.7 million in the pockets of NWT residents and businesses and will be implemented later this month once final administrative requirements have been met. This is meant to complement additional NWT economic relief measures announced in recent weeks by the GNWT.
“I support the fair and equitable treatment of all leaseholders on public land. They are each impacted by the current crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic affects all NWT businesses, residents, governments and non-government organizations. This rent relief initiative will help limit expenses and keep cash available for immediate needs in this time of uncertainty.”
-Shane Thompson, Minister of Lands
- The rent relief applies to existing residential, recreational and commercial and industrial dispositions on public land. The rent relief does not apply to new applications received after April 1, 2020.
- Lessees who have already made payments for the 2020/21 fiscal year will automatically receive a refund, if their account is in good standing. However, if you have overdue rent payments from prior years, these outstanding rents must still be paid.
- Surface dispositions are usually leases, but there are a small number of other types of dispositions such as easements and licences of occupation, that will also be eligible for relief.
- Commercial and industrial leases include a variety of business types including diamond mines, bulk fuel companies, small contractors, trucking companies, tourism operators, fish plants, outfitting camps, sawmills, and lodges to name a few.
- All standard leases of greater than 5 years contain a 5-year rent review provision. Letters notifying leaseholders of a rent review will continue to be issued in 2020-21.
- The rent relief for existing surface dispositions on public land, is retroactive to April 1, 2020.
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Government of the Northwest Territories