The still-unfolding COVID pandemic has taken a toll on all segments of the economy. Small businesses in brick-and-mortar industries – retail, restaurants, fitness and hospitality, to name a few – are among those hit hardest. Without revenues flowing in, it can be difficult to make ends meet, much less turn a profit. Rent payments in particular can become a burden.
What options do small businesses have for riding out the pandemic without throwing in the towel?
1. Talk to your landlord
Commercial landlords are often willing to compromise, especially during these troubling times. You may be able to negotiate a deferred or partial rent arrangement. Before speaking with your landlord, come prepared with a proposal (or several) that are workable for your business.
2. Know what legal protections apply
Several states – including Connecticut and New York – have temporary eviction moratoriums in place. They prohibit commercial property owners from evicting small businesses that are suffering from financial hardship due to COVID-19. They don’t forgive rent payments, however, and they do require business owners to take the initiative in invoking the protections as well as documenting the financial hardship they’re experiencing.
3. Consider other types of relief
The Small Business Administration is offering bridge loans, paycheck protection and debt relief options for small businesses impacted by COVID. Many state and local organizations are also providing economic aid for struggling businesses. Though it may take some digging to find the right relief, it’s well worth the effort if it can keep your business afloat.
Additionally, speak to a lawyer who understands the intersection between business and real estate law.