We are experiencing unprecedented events that leave most of use worried and confused. Most business owners are being forced to make hard decisions, like laying off staff or temporarily closing their doors. If you rent commercial space, you may be wondering what your options are if your business is facing hardship during the coronavirus pandemic.

You should start by reading your lease to see if you have any options for reduced rent. It’s probably not likely, but you need to know your options.

Talk to your landlord. If you have a real estate broker, have them speak to your landlord on your behalf.  It doesn’t hurt to plead your case. This is an emotionally charged time for everyone and it might make more sense to have a neutral party that isn’t emotionally invested. Landlords are also making difficult choices so keep the conversation civil if you are talking to them directly.

While you may be concerned about your immediate need for rent relief, most landlords are in this for the long haul and will be looking at the big picture. Which means they might be willing to work with you. However, your landlord’s situation will have a direct impact on how much they are willing to helpor not help you.

Even if your business is operating as usual during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should contact your landlord. They may be willing to offer you some concessions, especially if you are getting near the end of your lease term or are coming up on a renewal option. You are also in a very strong position if you need expansion space.

No one has been though something of this magnitude before and we are learning as we go, butgetting some advice from a trusted commercial real estate professional may help ease your mind a bit during this uncertain time.

Brian Smith, CCIM, is the founder of Regent Commercial Real Estate based in Charlotte, North Carolina (Mecklenburg County). He specializes in tenant and landlord representation in North and South Carolina. Please don’t hesitate to contact him with any specific questions you may have.  704.910.9518 or brian@regentcre.com