Why would the property owner be willing to negotiate changes to my lease?

Understanding the property owner’s perspective and interests will help you negotiate. If the property owner has a mortgage, the loan covenants may require the property owner to have the bank approve any lease modification.

Many small businesses are in a similar situation due to the coronavirus crisis and property owners are likely worried that they will not receive any rent. In addition, because many small businesses have to temporarily close and people are isolating themselves, it will likely be very difficult for property owners to find new tenants. Given a choice between an empty space and working with a good tenant who has a good business, the property owner may be willing to agree to a short rent-free or rent-reduced period until a successful tenant can pay full rent again. Property owners may also want to avoid the legal costs of terminating a lease and pursuing a personal guarantee in these times of economic uncertainty. As a result, property owners may be open to negotiation, even if they would only receive a partial payment now. They may be willing to take a risk that you will be able to make up the payments once you reopen.

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1. What should I do if I can’t pay the rent for my small business?
2. Can the federal CARES Act help me pay my rent?
3. Does Oregon’s “no evictions” order apply to commercial leases?
4. Can I negotiate a change to my lease?
5. Why would the property owner be willing to negotiate changes to my lease?
6. How do I approach negotiating with the property owner?
7. What are some terms that I can consider offering the property owner?
8. If I am able to reach an agreement with the property owner, can we just agree over the phone?
9. I can’t pay rent and can’t reach the property owner. Should I send them a letter explaining? Is that enough to forestall an eviction in the future?
10. What if I already missed a rent payment and the property owner sent me a default notice?
11. Am I still responsible for paying rent if I have to close my business?
12. Will a “Force Majeure” or “Impossibility” clause get me out of the lease?
13. What if my lease states that I have to be open during certain days and hours?
14. What if the property owner wants to cancel my lease because the location is good and they think they can get more money from another tenant?
15. What if I have to declare bankruptcy?
16. If I am a month-to-month tenant, how does this impact my lease?
17. I do not know if I have a lease (or can't find a copy of my lease). What should my next steps be?
18. Where can I find more resources?