For those looking for options to help pay the bills the next few months, here is a list of resources for managing your commercial leases.
As Winter approaches and a second stimulus package is still under negotiation in Congress — restaurants across the country are fighting to survive. Without necessary relief, many restaurants are struggling with rent and backpay as state eviction moratoriums begin to expire. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to paying rent or breaking a lease, there are options you should look into that could aid in making your rent more manageable over the next few months.
To help get you started, we’ve put together a list of organizations and other resources to give insight on the current options for small businesses. As always, if there is an organization we’ve missed or additional knowledge you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments or by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Nolo.com: Site mentioned by Jake in our newest video with Katie from the IRAO. Nolo.com offers a breakdown of moratoriums and tenant protections by state. The site is updated regularly, so to get current information on how your state is handling evictions just visit the link. Nolo.com also offers a Find A Lawyer database in case you are at the point of needing legal representation. Nolo’s database is slightly limited, so be sure to check out the Lawyer Legion database included below.
Bar Magic: Bar Magic’s relief page offers a clickable map of the USA to easily locate state resources. You can find anything from relief funds to local organizations working to save independent restaurants. Click on your state to find resources for running a small business, relief funds and important COVID-related updates. This is also a great resource to share with your employees looking for extra aid.
Paul Weiss: A PDF break down of COVID-19 Relief programs and funds for businesses and employers by state. Look through this PDF to see if your state is offering any relief programs to help you run your business.
Lawyer Legion: Hopefully negotiating your lease with a landlord doesn’t find its way to court, but if it does you will want to be represented by a real estate or hospitality lawyer. Lawyer Legion is a national database of lawyers and attorneys. Just look up the field of law and location you are in and the Lawyer Legion site will turn up a list of qualified contacts for you to choose from.
Articles about lease negotiations:
Since the start of the pandemic there’s been a lot of talk on how to negotiate your lease with your landlord. So before you talk with your landlord, take some advice from the experts. Here are a few articles worth reading from reputable sources:
National Law Review, “Considerations for Commercial Tenants for Negotiating Lease Modifications or Contemplating Lease Terminations”
In his article, Ethan C. Geis lays out terminology and various payment options that tenants should look into when preparing to negotiate with their landlord. It’s important to come prepared and to understand what your options are. This article also breaks down what you should look for when reviewing your lease for potentially breaking lease obligations.
Eater, “Until the Government Orders a Rent Freeze, Here’s How Restaurant Owners Should Talk to Landlords About COVID-19”
Eater sits down for a Q and A with Hospitality Lawyer Jasmine Moy to answer questions many tenants with commercial leases have about not paying rent and landlords’ rights to eviction.
Eater, “What it’s like to negotiate with landlords right now”
Another article featuring hospitality lawyer Jasmine Moy providing more insight on lease negotiations for restaurants amid COVID-19.
US Chamber of Commerce publication CO, “How to Renegotiate a Business Lease”
The US Chamber of Commerce publication offers straightforward advice and steps for presenting a lease renegotiation to your landlord.
National Petitions and Actions:
If you have the time, help take action by learning more on how these organizations are fighting for restaurants across the country. You can help by writing a letter to your state representatives or signing a petition to fight for the relief restaurants need today.
Independent Restaurant Coalition: Independent Restaurant Coalition has been advocating for Congress to pass relief for the nation’s independent restaurants. Currently they are asking industry workers to reach out to their state senators to fight for the RESTAURANTS Act to be included in the next stimulus package. Click here to send an automated email to your state representatives asking for support and click here to send a letter to congressional majority leaders urging them to pass the RESTAURANTS act.
Save America’s Restaurants petition on Change.org: A petition backed by heavy hitters like Naomi Pomeroy and Alice Waters asks government officials to take the struggles of the industry seriously and seek partnership with local industry leaders and restaurant associations to develop a swift plan for recovery.