SALEM — Local landlords with business tenants behind in rents can get some financial help from the state.

Business Oregon announced its Commercial Rent Relief Grant Program is accepting applications for grants to cover outstanding lease payments from small-business tenants that are behind on rent due to COVID-19. The grants provide up to $100,000 per each business tenant lease, but not more than $3 million for each landlord. And landlords must agree not to evict the tenant for six months, must waive any rights to collect outstanding penalties or interest, and cannot enforce eviction clauses related to the delinquent lease payments between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021.

The Oregon Legislative Emergency Board allocated $100 million to Business Oregon for the program to provide financial assistance to small businesses and commercial landlords undergoing hardships from the pandemic. Round 1 grant applications close on Monday, March 22, at 9 a.m.

“This new funding comes at a critical time to bring small businesses out of accumulated debt caused by the pandemic,” said Business Oregon Interim Director Chris Cummings. “With improving COVID-19 numbers and us all doing our part to curb the spread, we can get businesses operating again. This program lets them get going with a little less weight on their shoulders.”

Both the business tenant and property owner will need to participate in the application process and sign the grant agreement, but the landlord needs to complete the initial application.

The program has two rounds.

The state will allocate the first 50 in the application period that opened March 8. The remaining will be processed in an additional application period that will open in late April.

“Unsuccessful (but eligible) applicants from the first round will automatically be considered in the second round, as will any new round two applicants,” according to Business Oregon.

This is the seventh COVID-specific program Business Oregon has implemented to help businesses navigate the impacts of the pandemic.

One of those programs — the emergency small business grant — supported about 7,500 small businesses with $43 million in grants to help offset revenue impacts from COVID-19.

More program information and eligibility details are available on Business Oregon’s website, www.oregon4biz.com.

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