Coronavirus (COVID-19) And Relief For NYC Small Business Tenants

A Letter From Vicus Founders on What Coronavirus (COVID-19) Means for NYC Small Business Tenants in New York City

Below please find a letter we sent to our commercial real estate customers and clients in the New York City area on our thoughts on what Coronavirus (COVID-19) means for NYC small business tenants.  If you have any questions (even if you’re not a client), please do not hesitate to contact any of the team: Partners.



We know this is an extremely overwhelming, challenging, and unprecedented time for us all. COVID-19 has left the world with a lot of uncertainties that make it difficult to predict the proper path forward. We wanted to write to you and assure you that you are not alone, and we are here to guide you through the coming weeks and months.

Honestly, we don’t know what will happen next. No one does. However, we are talking with the appropriate experts and leaders at the local and state level, so we are best prepared for when new developments — laws and policy changes — occur. 

In the interim, we wanted to reach out and be a resource around how to navigate your existing lease during this crisis. As you may know, the New York State courts have suspended all evictions, residential and commercial, until further notice. While it can be tempting to use this to simply stop paying rent, we want to encourage you to use this as an opportunity to communicate with your Landlord about how to address the current challenge and try to work out mutually beneficial arrangements. 

We are happy to help you navigate these conversations and figure out a mutually beneficial solution. We’ve spoken to expert real estate attorneys on what to consider as part of these conversations; here are some key points to consider: 

  • continuing liability for you and any guarantors you have; this remains in effect even if you close your doors or even shut down permanently. 

  • a cure period on rent defaults or provisions for circumstantial deferred rent or rent abatement in your existing lease [if your existing lease doesn’t include these, speaking to your Landlord may result in receiving these concessions as a way to partner together through this crisis]. 

  • business interruption insurance is not likely to provide relief, since most polices disclaim liability for loss of business due to public health situations and almost all policies require that the cause of the lost income is directly attributable to physical loss or damage.  

As of today, several Federal, State and local relief programs are available to small and mid-sized businesses, including low or no interest loans, employee compensation relief and outright grants, and more are likely to become available over the coming weeks.  We will continue to communicate these to you as they occur.

Please do not hesitate to respond to this email if we can be a resource. We at Vicus — and we as New Yorkers — have weathered many storms: the aftermath of September 11th, the financial crisis of 2008 and Hurricane Sandy. And although this is an entirely different and unpredicted storm, we know we will get through this together.  We pride ourselves on operating with integrity, intelligence, and transparency and are always available to do what we do best: represent you as a tenant.

In good health,

Bert & Andrew
Vicus Partners Founders