Discussion continues around urgent need for commercial rent relief
Small businesses are quietly shuttering in Hawaii, and across the country, taking away much-needed jobs and benefits and causing a ripple effect throughout our communities.
CPB’s SVP of Commercial Real Estate Lending, Cathy Camp joined a panel of speakers on the Hawaii Business Now podcast discussing the Hawaii Commercial Rent Survey and the importance of commercial rent relief. Despite the release of the new COVID-19 vaccine, experts say it will be long before businesses can see any sort of normalcy in the marketplace. The ongoing pandemic and resulting government-imposed restrictions have been incredibly hard for Hawaii business owners suffering from crippling commercial rent commitments and causing many to shut their doors permanently.
The Hawaii Commercial Rent Survey was initiated by Ryan Tanaka, president of Island Business Management, and completed its third round of surveying Hawaii businesses on December 18. These surveys, made possible by partners including Central Pacific Bank, are intended to support advocacy for a commercial landlord-tenant grant program through federal COVID-19 relief funds.
Local financial institutions have implemented forbearance plans; however, Cathy shed light that banks are in a precarious situation due to FDIC regulations and compliance. The reality is many businesses have been walking away from their operational obligations, but landlords still need to pay their real property tax, insurance, utilities, etc. As such, Cathy mentions many have unfortunately been raiding their own personal savings accounts, their children’s college funds or even their retirement accounts to help make ends meet. In the instance of real property tax relief for landlords, support would then be passed on to their business tenants in the form of deferred commercial rent payments.
Cathy stressed that conversations need to happen between landlords and tenants, “everybody has to cooperate” and see how lease rent can be restructured. While on a government level, this is a critical program for our economy that can help save businesses and jobs. To watch the full podcast