$40 Million DC Restaurant/Bar/Retail Rent Relief Program Coming Soon for Non-RRF/SVOD Recipients

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

Earlier this year, Mayor Bowser signed the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget into law. One major aspect of the bill (see page 54-56 here) was a new $40 million Small Business Rent Relief Program. This grant program, tweaked slightly from the original proposal considered by the DC Council, awards grants to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and brick & mortar retail establishments in DC equal to 1/3 of the business’s past-due rent for the 4/1/20 – 3/31/21 time period. The tenant/business owner would be required to pay 1/3 of the past due rent, with the landlord agreeing to forgo 1/3 of the past due rent. A DC government official told me that the program is currently being designed now that the fiscal year is upon us; I hope that details and the application are released soon.

The grant program would be limited to spots:

  • Operating on leased property
  • With 2020 revenue of no more than $5 million
  • In Good Standing with DC Tax/Revenue
  • Lease that extends to at least the end of 2023
  • Did not receive the SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) or Shuttered Venue Operators Grants.
  • That would get current on rent if the grant was awarded.
  • Priority given to biz who didn’t get PPP loans.

An earlier verison of the bill limited the fund to spots that have been open since December 1, 2019, but the enacted law allows spots that opened and began operating in 2020-2021 to benefit. If the small business was open in 2019 or before, it must show a 50% decrease in revenue during any 3 month period during that April 2020-March 2021 period. If it’s a new business, it just has to incur “significant costs or losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic” as determined by DC.

A separate $40 million fund provides money to hotels in DC.

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