How to Talk to Your Landlord: 5 Strategies for Coworking Space Operators Around COVID-19

There’s a lot of uncertainty right now—about our collective physical health and our collective economic health.

For workspace operators, as your members head home, cancel bookings and question whether they can afford to renew their membership, you are—or will be—facing very real economic challenges.

One of the things you can do right now to potentially alleviate some of the mental and economic pressure is to have a frank conversation with your landlord about reduced rent and other strategies to stay afloat.

Satellite Deskworks founder and CEO Barbara Sprenger, who also runs the Satellite Workplaces, shared the following tips and strategies for talking with your landlord:

1. Talk to Your Landlord Now

Your landlord understands that you’re going through this and that your business is real estate intensive. Don’t wait to reach out to them with your concerns and requests. By starting early, you give them a chance to process information and share your efforts to be solution-focused.

2. Email Your Landlord Ahead of Time

Warm up the conversation with an email to give your landlord a heads-up. Here’s an approach you can take:

“As you know, we’re all trying to understand the impacts of the coronavirus on business. Of course, we are all in this together. I’m looking at how much my business is going to be dropping and, provisionally, it looks like about 75%. We’d like to talk with you about how we can weather this together.”

3. Analyze Your Finances

See what you need to do to break even, or get close to even. Asking for one-third rent reduction is a good number to start the conversation with your landlord. If you can get to 50%, even better. (Tip: Say “one-third” as it’s 10% more than 30% but sounds the same.)

Note: Start your analysis with the assumption that this will be at least six months.

4. Empathize with Your Landlord

Try to see the world from your landlord’s perspective.

She or he has mortgages to pay and real expenses that they have to cover, too. Rents may be their only source of income.

5. Stay Calm

Take a clear look at what you’ll need to survive the loss of income now, and moving forward. There’s no need to panic as there are definitely solutions. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a disaster loan program that can cover you at low interest with a 30 year payback. (More on this in future posts and in our regular Show and Tells.)

Reach out to your landlord as soon as possible and focus on working together to solve the problem.

The Satellite Deskworks team is here to support you. Contact us to learn more about managing your space remotely, creating new, virtual product offerings and making smart business decisions during these uncertain times.

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