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Five Issues Landlords Should Consider Regarding a Pandemic's Impact on Commercial Tenants

Originally published in NAIOP's Summer 2020 Issue By Michael Stewart

Many tenants need rent relief, but what are the best ways to go about providing it?

As state and local governments rolled out measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in March, commercial landlords began getting calls for help from tenants. In an environment where social distancing has taken hold and more customers are staying home, retailers and other consumer-facing businesses are feeling the impact of decreased demand, supply-chain interruptions, and in some cases, mandatory closures.

In light of this rapidly evolving situation, here are five issues landlords should consider before negotiating concessions with commercial tenants.

Loan documents could limit tenant relief. Before agreeing to any reduction in rent or other modifications to a lease, owners should carefully review their project’s loan documents. Many documents include financial covenants that must be maintained during the term of the loan. Owners should ensure that aggregate rent reductions will not reduce net operating income to a point where financial covenant tests are tripped, triggering a default or other lender protections (such as cash management) under the loan documents. Additionally, owners need to confirm whether their loan documents permit the modification or termination of a lease, or acceptance of less rent than stipulated.

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City Considering Tightening Minimum Housing Code

Posted June 28, 2019

The City of Charlotte is considering revisions to its Minimum Housing Code Ordinance, with changes that could impact housing affordability by raising the cost of property management and code compliance for landlords.

A full list of the proposed changes is available here, along with the presentation made last week to City Council’s Neighborhood Development Committee. They include:

  • Requiring roof drains, gutters and downspouts be maintained in good repair and free from obstructions and designed to discharge rainwater away from
    the structure.
  • Requiring any existing air conditioning systems to be ‘in good working condition.’
  • Requiring that cabinet doors and drawers be ‘operating as intended and have functional hardware.’
  • Requiring that exhaust ducts for clothes dryers be equipped with a back-draft
    damper.
  • New fines of $500 per day for failure to correct any dangerous violations within 48 hours.
  • Enhanced penalties for Environmental Court convictions that include probation or up to 30 days in jail.
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Charlotte Housing Policy Conference on April 24

Posted on April 11, 2019

Join UNC Charlotte Childress Klein Center for Real Estate for the Charlotte Housing Policy Summit on Wednesday, April 24 at UNC Charlotte’s Center City Campus. This event will address Charlotte's housing policy implications based on the analysis discussed in the “State of Housing in Charlotte” report and summit.

 

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Retirees Reshaping Residential

Posted June 18, 2018

Millennials are not the only demographic influencing the housing market; demographers estimate that the age 65-and-over population in the U.S. will double between 2010 and 2060, and this shift will most certainly impact real estate. According to the Curbed article, “The Changing Face of Retirement: Apartment Living, Active Lifestyles and Rural Homes,” retirees want different retirement amenities than previous generations. Traditional retirement communities that are isolated and offer not much more than golf are losing favor to urbanized independent living communities that have “clubhouses, fitness centers, lap pools, and walking trails.” Older adults do not want to be placed on “islands of old age,” the article states, and prefer age integration over segregation in their activities.

Inside WeWork's Communal Housing Project: WeLive

Posted on November 30, 2017

A recent article in Bloomberg Technology, What Life is Like Inside WeWork’s Communal Housing Project, profiled WeLive apartment living to see if the shared common space apartments could reinvent rental housing the same way WeWork has changed office space. WeLive provides fully furnished apartments in the same building as WeWork’s shared office spaces. In the common areas, residents can “cook dinner in an expansive kitchen, shoot pool in the laundry room or get neighborly over free WeWork-provided cocktails on the seventh-floor roof terrace.”

WeLive debuted last year in Washington, D.C., and New York and was expected to have almost three dozen WeLive locations by the end of 2017, but still has only the two original locations. Tenants have been slow to lease, according to the article, because the apartments are as expensive as similar studio units on the market and the communal “dorm for adults” aspect is not appealing to everyone. Those interviewed for the story appreciated the networking and instant social life WeLive provides but several conceded that their units were temporary places to call home until they found something that felt more permanent.