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COVID-19 FAQ: Commercial Rent and Leases

Question:

We've downsized our business to weather the COVID-19 crisis, including laying off staff, but what can we do about the rent owing on our lease?

Answer:

We represent both commercial tenants and commercial landlords, and currently we are seeing a remarkable amount of flexibility on the part of many landlords. Some are providing rent abatements (the rent is still owing, but will be caught up later in the lease term) while others are agreeing to permanent reductions in the rent payable under the lease.

While many landlords are honestly attempting to assist their tenants, to some extent it also boils down to bargaining power: what is the prospect that the landlord would be able to replace their tenant with another business in the near-term? Also, many landlords themselves have obligations, like mortgage payments, that depend on receiving rent payments, and as a result such landlords may have limited room to move on rent obligations.

If a particular landlord is being hard-nosed about payment of rent, there are creditor protection solutions which can force a rent “holiday” if necessary. Link to our recent blog on the subject: Restructuring proposals for smaller companies.

Gehlen Dabbs is OPEN to help you and your business during these challenging times. Please contact us for assistance.

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