Bracebridge Business Shocked By Significant Rent Increase Before Peak Season


July is usually the beginning of peak tourism season for downtown Bracebridge, Ontario. But this year Footprints on Muskoka is scrambling to find a new home during what should have been their best months.

Instead of bouncing back to strong sales after 3 slow years, Footprints is laying off employees and wondering what the future of their business will be.

“I survived as a small business person through the pandemic and thought that was the hardest thing possible – but then I had to negotiate my commercial lease and realized I have no rights as a tenant,” says Krista Mansour, owner of Footprints on Muskoka. “With zero rights, why would I pay a higher rent price even if I could afford it?”

Unlike for residential tenants, in Ontario a business’s rent can go up by any amount at the end of a lease or during a month-to-month agreement.  In fact, there are virtually no protections or standards for commercial renters at all.

According to a 2022 Better Way Alliance survey:

  • Over 75% of businesses have experienced a one-time rent increase of 10% or more
  • 20% of businesses have experienced a one-time rent increase of 50% or more
  • 10% of surveyed businesses have seen a one-time rent increase of 100% or more

The Better Way Alliance (BWA) launched to create awareness and urge provincial governments to take the lack of regulation in commercial real estate seriously.

“Often we’ll hear from businesses like Footprints on Muskoka going through massive rent increases or in a deadlock with their landlords over unexpected fees. Unfortunately they have no real options or leverage.  Many tenants stay silent so they don’t experience even further backlash from their landlord,” says Aaron Binder, BWA Director.

Media Release provided by Aaron Binder.



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