Business

Some landlords could reduce commercial rent by 50 percent, realtor says

Some landlords are considering reducing rent on their commercial properties by 50 percent, or deferring the payments to the end of the lease in order to help businesses affected by the country’s shutdown as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate MCR Bahamas Group Partner Tim Rodland said yesterday.

Rodland said while a 50 percent reduction in rent is an option, realtors are still mulling other ways to assist business owners who are now staring down a reduction in sales because of the shutdown, but the continuation of their lease and rental agreements.

“This is something new. We haven’t seen anything like this happen before…I mean the country is shut down,” Rodland said.

“Right now, we’re trying to figure out how to keep businesses afloat, so that people don’t have to be laid off.

“If you’re unable to make money, if you’re unable to have people come into your store and you still have to pay staff…people have to offer some sort of a concession.

“There are a couple of options and we’re trying to figure out the best approach. Some landlords have reduced the rent by 50 percent or added it onto the end of the lease.”

Rodland said there has not been much discussion about rental agreements for residential properties because the matter has not become critical as yet.

Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) President Christine Wallace-Whitfield said given the small, close-knit nature of the Bahamian society, landlords will likely employ empathy during the economic downturn COVID-19 will cause.

“The fortunate thing is because we’re a little tiny nation, I think people are aware and empathetic,” Wallace-Whitfield said.

“We (BREA) haven’t had any problems arise and come to our attention yet.

“We’re a small country where I think we would be able to help our brother and sister out to a certain point.”

Meantime, in the United States where the COVID-19 threat is increasing, large companies like Cheesecake Factory are employing things like a rent strike because of the decline in their business, according to an article on Insider.com.

According to the article, Cheesecake Factory executives announced to their landlords that they would not be paying April’s rent due to the economic hit they have sustained because of COVID-19.

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