Now is the time to communicate with your NYC landlord, if you haven't already! 

Vicus Founders On Having The Conversation With Your Landlord and Your Insurance Carrier

Below, is a letter we sent to our commercial real estate customers and clients in New York City regarding questions we have received about whether their business insurance covers Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how best to navigate paying commercial rent in NYC during COVID-19. Now is the time to have a conversation with your NYC landlord about COVID-19. If you have any questions (even if you’re not a client), please do not hesitate to contact any of our team.

At the beginning of the month, we communicated our thoughts and recommended guidance around how tenants should handle paying rent in April and the coming months. As we approach halfway through the month and having participated in many of these conversations over the last two weeks, we wanted to again provide guidance on rent payments, your rights and your lease, and how to communicate with your landlord. Now is the time to communicate with your landlord, if you haven’t already! 

Here are some of the most common questions we’ve received over the past few days, and our suggested solutions:

Do I Have Any Rights To Stop Paying Rent? The truth is, every lease is different. Your lease may have specific provisions for circumstantial deferred rent or rent abatement during times of material business interruption or revenue loss [many companies also have business interruption insurance for this reason, but to date this Coronavirus pandemic is not definitively being covered; read here for our guidance on Business Interruption Insurance and making a claim]. 

If you do have these provisions in your lease, we can help you speak to your landlord about exercising these rights. If you don’t, we are here to help you brainstorm and get creative. For example, asking your landlord for 3-6 months of rent abatement now that will then be tacked on to the end of your lease. Another potential solution is asking your landlord for 3-6 months of rent abatement, then amortizing the difference over the remainder of the year or potentially several years. There is no cookie-cutter approach, but we are prepared to work with you, to think creatively and innovatively, and to facilitate these conversations with your Landlord in a cooperative way.

How Do I Communicate With My Landlord? Do you Help with that? Now is the time to communicate with your landlord, and our job as a tenant only commercial leasing representative is to be part of those communications on your behalf. Landlords are humans, too—yes they have to work within their cash flow confines too, but they understand this pandemic as much as anyone else and value communication and cooperation. We’ve seen the benefit of collaboration between landlord and tenant over the last couple weeks, and believe landlords who are willing to work with their tenants will benefit in the long run. An article published in The Real Deal on Friday agrees.

Step 1 is to review and understand your current lease and what rights you have within that. Step 2 is to develop a plan for what you want to ask your landlord for; we are here to help you strategize and to be part of the communications with your Landlord should you want us to, completely free of charge. Step 3 is to open a dialogue with your Landlord and come to a solution that benefits you now when you need it most.

Should I talk to an attorney? Do you have a recommendation? Before you plan and communicate with your landlord, you want to make sure you really understand your rights within your lease, and your rights as a tenant given the multiple Executive Orders and policy changes around rent payments and Landlord / Tenant relationships.

To help you navigate this, we’ve asked the reputable law firm Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Peskoe LLP (GEABP) to do a top level review of your lease and answer initial questions you have at no cost to you.

They are closely monitoring federal, state and local governmental and regulatory actions to stay abreast of developments that may affect you. Their real estate team is active in the market for commercial office, retail and hospitality leases, and they are here to bring their expertise to you during these difficult times, again at no cost to you.

We remain committed to being your unwavering advocate and your partner in long term success, and are grateful to be in a line of work that lets us bring tangible benefit to you as a tenant. Please respond to this email if we can answer any questions on how to handle paying rent or if you’d like to be connected to GEABP, if we can help you come up with a proposed relief plan to discuss with your Landlord, or for anything else. We’re here to help. please contact us at brosenblatt@vicuspartners.com or astein@vicuspartners.com

In good health,

Bert & Andrew

Vicus Partners Founders