PLUS: How Franchises Can Weather the Coronavirus Storm
Your lease is probably the single most important consideration for franchise businesses to weather the coronavirus storm.
You need the lease when you return.
10 Do’s and Don’t When Talking to Your Landlord About Rent Relief
1. Do reach out to them. Let them know what is going on and whether you can pay the rent. Do this even if you cannot pay anything.
2. Do make a request. Ask the landlord for what you want them from them in terms of rent relief. How much are you asking to rent or abate? How much are you asking to be deferred or postponed?
3. Do agree to repayment of some kind if you are talking about deferring rent. If you don’t agree upon the exact terms, at least push out the date at which repayment will start for at least 90 days.
4. Do be aware that these terms may need to be revisited and share with the landlord that you “hope we don’t have to revisit the conversation!”
5. Don’t act unilaterally if you can help it. If the landlord won’t or can’t respond and you just have not got the money, then you don’t have a choice. But even if your intention is to send nothing, advance notice and conversation can go a long way.
6. Do have a plan and communicate that plan. A plan for getting re-opened, a plan for operations with reduced expenses, a plan for asking other stakeholders for help reducing expenses, even a plan for making a plan (if you have no plan).
7. Do communicate the details of your situation. There’s no need to overdo it, but landlords will want to know – what are you seeing? Slower paying customers? Fewer orders? Total stoppage? There’s both anxiety and curiosity at play here while the details get sorted out and everyone tries to identify significant information.
8. Do address the emergency assistance from the SBA as part of your plan. Are you applying? Will the funds get here quickly enough? Landlords need to know that while you intend to apply for one program or have applied for another you don’t have funds yet.
9. Do get it in writing. Make sure the details of anything you agree upon are written down and signed.
10. Don’t forget your landlords are human and stressed out too. They’ve got mortgages and business themselves.
BONUS – DON’T FORGET TO THANK YOUR LANDLORD. A handwritten note is never a bad idea.
Contact the franchise and business law attorneys at West Coast Franchise Law today at (206) 724-0846 to discuss your situation.