Retailers fear that temporary closures to slow the spread of COVID-19 might turn permanent, if a drop in sales mean they cannot pay their bills.
Most national retailers have already sent letters to their landlords requesting a deferral of rent until June 30, and with razor-thin profit margins, small retailers may be even more at risk, said Katy Welsh, senior director of retail services at Colliers international, a Canada-based global commercial real estate services firm.
In response, many landlords are granting temporary moratoriums on rent, a move that could help businesses survive economic disruption. Landlords are largely responding to tenants with flexibility, knowing that this is a no-fault situation, said major landlords and real estate advisers.
“Landlord groups are all having meetings trying to determine how to handle this,” said Welsh. “More than likely, the landlords are going to go along with it. They will have to in some fashion