Monday, December 15, 2008

不要輕易放棄房客 Do not easily give up on the tenant.

房客要求減租 房東如何因應?
不要輕易放棄房客

(記者黃思齊報導)金融海嘯肆虐,繼金融、汽車業相繼淪陷後,商業地產可能是下一波未爆彈。STC資產管理公司總裁 John許指出,已經有不少商業不動產房東收到房客減租或不續租的通知。如果你是房東,你應該如何處理呢?
John 許指出,景氣不好影響到各行各業,年底這個時候,本來應該是零售業旺季,然而商家望穿秋水,卻不見消費者上門。買氣不強,已經讓Circuit City、Mervyn’s 等大型連鎖店面臨關門大吉的危機,然而在不景氣中,也有廠商經營得有聲有色,例如Ross、Denny’s,John許指出,今年度,STC資產管理公司已經幫他們開了十家店。因此,不動產業主也無需太過悲觀。
談到房東如果收到房客的減租要求,應該如何應對?John許指出,「請房東先不要太快回應。」因為房東的直覺反應一定是拒絕,房客看減租無望,就乾脆退租了,對房東而言,真的是得不償失。「因為景氣很差還會延續一段時間,房客將會愈來愈難找,房東應該與房客站在一起,共度難關,才是雙贏的策略。」
John許說,房客要求減租,房東應先考慮的是,「這個房客的生意是否尚有可為」,他賣的東西好吃嗎?他賣的產品市場需求度如何?他的財務健全嗎?他現在生意有危機,是否是因大環境使然,而並非是房客個人有諸如賭博之壞習慣造成。如果房東認為這個房客還沒有到令人絕望的地步,就應該伸手幫助他渡過難關。
John許指出,房東協助房客的方法有很多種,例如房東可以答應暫時減租一定期限,比如一年,再將減少的租金分攤到以後的租期中攤還,這樣可以讓房客度過最難捱的時刻。
又或者是,不用減租形式,而將房客付的租金部分拿來打廣告,幫助房客促銷生意。John許說,房東甚至可建議,提供相對的金額,幫助房客打廣告。這些都可讓房客體會到你的誠意,可以更鞏固雙方的關係。
最具創意的方式是,John許提出他自己的經驗,同意減免房客六個月,每個月一千元的租金,但是要求房客拿這筆錢換新冰箱、新爐頭、改善自己的門面,使得該餐館房客的評分從「B」升到「A」級,競爭力加強,生意改善,皆大歡喜。
還有一個幫助房客的方法,John許說,將房客的「Security Deposit」部分借給房客運用,等到生意好時再補回來,房東沒有損失,對房客來說,卻是很大的幫助。
「Joint Promotion」也是一個不錯的點子,John許說,現在的消費者精打細算,他們將他們管理公司旗下所有商家提供的優惠coupon,在網路上大量放送,吸引消費者前來,也達到不錯的效果。
John許強調,景氣明年會更糟,房客只要扶得起來,就不要輕易放棄。商業不動產的所有人應該要以更積極、主動的態度面對逆境,絕不要坐以待斃。
讀者如果還有有關商業不動產的問題需要諮詢,歡迎與John 許聯絡,電話:562-695-1513。


When Tenants ask for a reduction in rent,
how should the landlord respond?
Do not easily give up on the tenant.

In this trying economic time where we have seen the impact of the financial landscape on lending institutions, and more recently the automobile industry, one can not help but wonder if commercial real estate could be next. STC Management’s John Hsu points out that there are already many landlords who have received requests for rent reduction & notices to quit. If you are the landlord, how should you respond?

John points out, when the economy takes a turn for the worse; it will affect businesses in all sectors. The holiday season usually yields high sales volume, however, this year; sales have not produced comparable numbers to previous years. The trying economic times has already let us bid farewell to household names such as Circuit City, Mervyn’s and Linen’s and Things. However, even in this economy, there are also stores not only performing well but expanding – such as Ross and Denny’s Restaurant. STC has already helped open ten stores in the past year for these franchise tenants. Although the commercial real estate landscape is not the thriving landscape it was a year ago, there is no need to have a grim outlook either.

When landlords receive a request for rent reduction, what is the appropriate response? John Hsu has many ideas and suggestions. First and foremost, “Landlords should not react too quickly.” Because the first reaction the landlord will have is refusal. When this happens, the tenant has no alternative course of action and will be forced to leave the premises – leaving the landlord with a situation that is not that much better. John explains, “the economic climate will most likely last for a period of time, tenants will be harder to find. Instead of turning away tenants, the landlord should work with the tenants and together endure through these trying times.”

Instead, when landlords are faced with this caveat, the questions the landlord should think about are, “does this tenant’s business successful? Do they make good food? Is the product they sell in demand? Is there a threat to the business that is not attributed to outside factors such as the economy but personal factors such as a gambling habit? If the landlord feels that the tenant situation is not beyond repair, the landlord should extend a helping hand.

John Hsu proposes many methods for the landlord to help tenants. For example, the landlord can agree to rent reduction for a set period of time – for example one year. The landlord can then make up for this rent reduction by adding the subtracted amount of rent to future rent. This way, the tenant can survive through these hard times. Another method that can be used is by taking a portion of the collected rent and investing in advertisements – helping the tenant gain more exposure for their businesses. John suggests that the landlord can even promise matching funds if the tenant is willing to invest in advertisements to help their business. The added benefit is that the tenant will feel that the landlord is proactively helping – indirectly strengthening relationships between landlord and tenant.

Landlords may also explore the option of letting tenants ‘borrow’ a portion of their security deposit. When business improves, the tenant can then return that deposit to the landlord. Landlord will not be at a loss, but conversely the help given to the tenant is immeasurable.

“Joint Promotion” is another method worth trying out. The management company can compile a coupon booklet that contains tenants special offerings and others who want to participate in the joint promotion. This coupon booklet can be mass mailed using the internet to attract consumers. In past experiences, it has achieved a favorable effect.

The most creative method was suggested by John himself. In his past experience he has granted rent reductions in the sum of one thousand dollars – however, there is a catch. The tenant is asked to use this money towards improving their facilities (ie refrigerators, stoves, general appearance). The improvements help increase the appeal, and indirectly the traffic, and ultimately business.

John Hsu emphasizes that the economy next year will continue to deteriorate. If the tenant is not beyond hope, it is worth putting the time and effort in helping them in these hard times. All professionals in the commercial industry should be more aggressive and proactive in the face of this adverse situation.

If there are further questions regarding commercial real estate, John is available for consultation and more information at (562)695-1513.

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