Dear Landlord

An open letter to North Bay commercial landlords

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Hi. How are you? Probably you are quite concerned, as are the rest of us. Many of you own small commercial buildings or complexes housing businesses disrupted by the shutdown. Many of you are small businesses yourselves and are straining to figure out cash flow and income for the next few periods.
I have a big favor to ask of you, and it may work to your advantage in the long run. If your tenants must continue to pay rent when no income is coming in, most of them will go out of business, which leaves your property vacant and producing no income for you until it is leased again. New leases will be difficult to sign in the midst of an economic downturn or recession. If your tenants can stay in business till the shutdown ends, your properties will stay leased and your income will resume.
Seventy percent of the U.S. economy is consumer spending. Much of that is mom-and-pop stores and restaurants that fight like terriers to stay afloat during the best of times. By keeping your tenants in business, you will see the benefits in your bottom line but also in the local and national economies as well.
We’ve often been told that a rising tide lifts all boats. Well, the opposite is true as well. We don’t want our local businesses and restaurants to fail. We don’t want you, the landlords, to lose your shirts either.
We all have a vested interest in keeping our local economy afloat. Thousands of empty storefronts and shuttered restaurants is a terrible thought to consider and will have ripple effects all throughout our area. Please consider the long-term consequences of businesses shutting down.
Can you find it in your hearts to work out arrangements with your tenants so that rent can be deferred or delayed until business comes back? To quote Fred Rogers, “I know you can.”
Thank you very much,
Andrew Haynes

Andrew Haynes lives in Petaluma.

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