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Landlords and Tenants must work together in the face of coronavirus

Landlords and Tenants: you can’t have one without the other, and the Covid-19 crisis is certainly creating challenging and uncertain times for both sectors. Ultimately their fates, as ever, are intertwined. But fairness, transparency and open honest dialogue between both groups will be essential as we navigate this crisis.

In normal times there is a dip, a trough and a recovery. In this case, the dip has been immediate, the trough is uncertain but will last a number of months and for most the recovery is hopefully going to be relatively quick as there will be a push to get back to business both nationally and globally.

Both Landlords and Tenants are interdependent on each other and the failure of one will undoubtedly impact the other. Landlords and Tenants will, of course, be anxious to get through this period while protecting their investments and businesses. This has to happen in a fair and balanced way and needs both sides to understand the difficulties that each sector has. Landlords may have bank loans on the relevant properties and repayments to make plus may need to report to other stakeholders. A business who may have been forced to close or who is operating remotely albeit with a significantly reduced turnover. Unless they have sufficient cash reserves they simply cannot make their rental commitments.

There regretfully is no silver bullet that will solve this dilemma. However, it is obvious that putting unreasonable demands on the tenant and not being prepared to take into account the issues that the business is contending with, will prove counterproductive. Landlords who are inflexible and demand full payment of rent as per the terms of their lease irrespective of the businesses circumstances will greatly impede the ability of the business not alone to recover but indeed to survive.

We don't know when we will return to any degree of normality but it is sadly some way down the road. Any return will more than likely be on a staggered basis and the economy will slowly but surely begin to restart. Every sector needs to support the other, and this includes the Banks, Landlords, Businesses, and Government. Nothing else will suffice if we want an economy and indeed a society to go back to.

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