By Neil Wild, director of Wild Property Consultancy

With the March quarter day just around the corner, landlords and tenants to work together to protect their investments and businesses to survive the economic impact of the coronavirus situation.

Property costs like business rents and rates, are a primary concern for commercial property landlords and tenants. And, now more than ever, they must pull together to get through these ever-changing times and period of economic uncertainty.

March 25 is a quarter day, a day where many tenants settle three months’ rent in advance. Tenants worried about meeting their financial commitments need to talk to their landlord as soon as possible. The fact is, it’s within both parties’ interests to find a harmonious solution.

Often there’s a misconception that landlords are cash-rich, but that’s not always the case. Their wealth is likely to be tied up in the properties they own, providing a necessary immediate income or a crucial part of their retirement plans. If the rent isn’t paid it has a knock-on effect.

We have no idea how long the current situation is going to last, but one thing is for certain, businesses are going to tighten their belts to protect their livelihoods. Tenants being open and honest about their situation will build trust and a willingness for landlords to explore constructive ways to manage the financial worries for all involved.

Tenants or landlords impacted, and who feel uncomfortable or unable to have these conversations can consider using a property consultant. An unbiased third party is often best placed to mediate difficult situations like these to achieve the best outcome for everyone.”

Alternative ways to reduce rates & cover rent costs

• Speak to your landlord early to avoid paying interest on defaulting on rent

• Check you are receiving the appropriate business rate reliefs for your business, such as small business relief, retail & hospitality relief and empty property relief

• If you paid a holding deposit, ask if this can be used towards on-going rental payments

• Ask if it is possible to pay a percentage of your rent costs for a limited period

• Find out if staggering rent payments is an option for a limited period