NEW YORK CITY – The Cares Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package Congress has passed, is not enough to address commercial properties related to forbearance and commercial mortgages and the ability of tenants to pay rent for April and May, which has left one landlord with its hands tied as it communicates with lenders and tries to work with tenants. “Something has to be done,” Ami Ziff, director of national retail for Time Equities, tells GlobeSt.com. “If tenants don’t pay rent, how can we pay our mortgages and real estate taxes,” he said.
For tenants who have applied for funds, they’re not expected to see it in time to make rent payments. Nonetheless Time Equities is working with tenants on a case by case basis to work out a plan. And in addition, isn’t rushing to lenders for negotiations if it isn’t needed, according to Ziff.
“If 90% of tenants on a property’s roster pays, and 10% doesn’t, I’m not gonna cry foul to the lender and ask for something I truly don’t need,” he said.
Also, reservations to run to lenders have come from grey areas in tenant negotiations, Ziff said, where in some cases tenants say they can’t pay rent for 4 to 6 months. “That’s not fair. We’re hopeful people can reopen in two to three months,” he said. “Tenants can’t say they won’t pay rent for a long period of time, and we don’t want to approach the lender in that manner.”
According to a recent GlobeSt.com article, the firm has not laid off any of its staff and has repurposed certain folks from its acquisition teams to focus more on asset management, Ziff said.
He dealt with similar situations in his career during the 2008 Financial Crisis and emphasizes taking it one call, lease and mortgage at a time to come up with fair and equitable solutions that allow survival for all involved parties. And not all tenants are in the same predicament. For instance, some of Time Equities’ grocery store tenants had sales jump up over 100 percent since the start of the pandemic, and craft stores are up 75 percent, whereas some restaurants have shuttered altogether.