Even the best businesses run into cash flow problems. There are often sources of internal capital that are available to cover these dry spells including cash reserves and credit lines. When those are not available, often the biggest help can come from the landlord the business sends their rent check to every month.
Inexplicably, most tenants assume the fetal position when dealing with the landlord. Think of the term – the “lord of the land.” It’s amazing that this medieval concept has survived to the present day. In my previous life as a property manager I often dealt with tenants begging for relief and mercy from the landlord. Such a misguided approach to seeking financial assistance rarely got the tenant what they were asking for or what their business really needed.
A tenant needs to approach the relationship with their landlord from a modern perspective; that is, two complimentary businesses in a contractual partnership. When you view things in this light, the request for rent relief becomes a simple business transaction: an investment by the landlord in the tenant’s business. Think about it: when a business solicits investors for money, they sell the positive prospects for success. The tenant needs to characterize the trouble they are facing as a temporary setback caused by market conditions or perhaps a business miscalculation on their part. In any event, their pitch to the landlord needs to emphasize the fact that with some help, the problem can be neutralized or reversed and that the ultimate result will be a stronger tenant who will be better able to fulfill their contract with the landlord.
This strategy works when you get sound guidance from a good real estate broker and advocate. I recently coached a client of mine and helped them get $60,000 of rent relief. In addition to helping them word the request using the proper, positive tone, I advised them to propose repayment terms that would allow them to pay back the balance due ahead of schedule and leave the landlord feeling like they had made an excellent investment.
Beats begging, doesn’t it?