How to handle landlords who won't play fair...

These are some of the toughest times in business, and particularly in retail that we have ever seen. 

The current set of lockdowns, backed onto an unstable and difficult previous 2020, mean the market conditions are threatening the existence of a swathe of SME’s across the country.

The ripple effect of limited or no trade of retailers is felt throughout the supporting supply chain, and therefore the economy as a whole.

Of course shopping centre rents in particular have been a constant issue well before covid “Why I don’t trust major shopping centres on rent in covid-19”.

How To Handle Landlords Who Wont Play Fair On Franchise Buyer

The issue of rent

Rent payable on commercial premises that are either unable to trade, or are experiencing a severe downturn in trade for no fault of their own, has arguably been the ‘unresolved issue’ throughout the pandemic crisis.

Just ‘deferring’ the rent, ie, ‘kicking the can down the road’ for it to be paid later, as rent for a time period on sales that never existed, should not be the default ‘go to’ solution.

It is not an unreasonable position to take that the financial pain must be shared. But, it must also be equitably shared aligned with the capacity to share it. And it is unfortunately a factor of this and any retail crisis, that some businesses will not survive it. 

Ange Kondos of LeaseWise, works at the coalface of the problem helping SME’s of all sizes in negotiating with their landlords, and is none-too happy with what he is seeing.

“Why did the Government make legislation to force landlords to assist tenants? Because inherently behaviour is poor, unfair and oppressive.”

Ange Kondos Leasewise On Franchise Buyer

What can you do to get a fair outcome?

“Complete transparency of the true financial impact (of the situation on you) and communication for an outcome that can be met is essential to get treated fairly. 

Remember, that without a tenant, a property has no rent income and is devalued in the market given the circumstances affecting everyone.”

What can you do if the Landlord is unfair? 

However, regardless of the legitimacy of your circumstance and your situation, if you have little success in achieving cooperation from a landlord acting unfairly, there are basically two choices according to Ange.

“Firstly, get good representation to push your case to get a result.  

Or if not, (and you can’t get a result that works), be prepared to walk away IF your short term loss is contained. 

As painful and as hard as a ‘walk away’ might seem, staying in an untenable situation that will (potentially) only get worse, is a threshold moment that anyone in small business must overcome.”

Of course, with commercial rent a vexed issue outside of the pandemic, let alone during it, often with an adversarial under-current ‘One says screw  you, the other says let’s work together’, it’s clear that nobody will emerge fully satisfied from this.

Clearly, the key to achieving anywhere near a desired outcome is to get representation from leasing professionals experienced in acting on behalf of SME’s in this scenario.

If you need help, you can contact Ange HERE at LeaseWise