Question :
We have a cafe at the mall and we wont be even allowed to open in level3 alert, so basically close for about 5 weeks at least. The mall is asking us to pay the rent as usual, which I think its really unfair. What can we do and what factor plays part in getting a ‘fair’ amount of rent which is affordable for us to pay. The rent is more than 11k per month. Even half it will be really hard to pay. plus even when the level gone down to 2, we don’t know whether people are still going to be still cautious and may not go to cafe etc.  Most our customers are 70+ age group as well.  We have used all our saving (since our business not really making any money lately) and now living on my wife salary. There is no fix rental rules about this. Thank you

Question submitted 18/04/20 @ 11:36am
Industry: Food & Beverage
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    What a tough situation to be in – my heart goes out to you. Step 1 is to review your rental agreement. Does it make provision for being unable to access the premises? Worth getting clear on the legal position in terms of your rights. Step 2 is the commercial discussion. If paying rent while unable to trade may penalise your business to the point of closing then the landlord is chasing a short term gain for a long term loss. You pay rent now, and then they have an empty space in the future when you are unable to re-open. And there is unlikely to be a rush of new tenants for them to call on. I suggest you develop a negotiating strategy with the landlord that talks them through this situation for you, and has an alternative proposal for them that shows the long term benefits of giving you rent relief now. If you have an adviser such as a lawyer or accountant it might be worth including them in that discussion to support you.
    It’s a tough situation but the sooner you can tackle it the better. Kia Kaha.

    I reinforce @vicky-taylor point of view, get good advice on your lease and be transparent with landlord on your situation and the reality is other tenants will be in the same position too. It’s times like this that people remember how they treated each other. I would hold firm on not paying until your know your position as I can’t see them attracting new tenants anytime soon either… follow your gut and do the right thing! Stay strong and look after yourself and your people! and if you no who some of your regular customers are call them or get in touch and see how you could do business with them under level 3 as at least it may give you an insight to the feasibility of how and when you open back up too… CC

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