THE owners of Trincity Mall and their tenants are negotiating rent and other charges to be paid during the covid19 lockdown.
Mall-owner Trincity Commercial Centre Ltd (TCCL), part of the HCL Group of Companies, in a letter dated last Thursday offered one month rent-free to tenants. But tenants are seeking more, reportedly to pay no rent for the second half of March and none for April.
TCCL said it had extended a rent concession and approved a waiver of basic rent for the month of May. But tenants must pay the common area maintenance (CAM) fee, utility bills, promotion and where applicable food court charges, plus any applicable VAT charges for May.
The company says it cannot give relief from the maintenance fees, which ensure security, janitorial and maintenance services are continued.
“This is essential so when restrictions are lifted, the mall can open as soon as possible, and it protects the premises.”
TCCL said the agreement to rent relief was made in “a spirit of co-operation” to help tenants cope in the economic downturn.
TCCL hoped the measures showed its commitment to working with tenants in these uncertain times, and undertook to stay in contact as events unfold and warrant a response.
Tenants of Trincity and Long Circular malls had drafted a joint response, calling for rent forgiveness for part of March plus April, on top of May.
They said schools were closed on March 13 and people began staying home when TT’s first covid19 patient was announced the day before.
They wrote: “Throughout the majority of March 2020 it became very obvious to proprietors in major shopping malls that if one did not operate a supermarket, pharmacy or general health and personal care establishment, your business had virtually disappeared.”
The tenants suggested they only pay for the first half of March, the last time they saw customers in their stores.
“Is it fair to expect a 100 per cent payment for a two-week operational period in March against a 90 per cent loss in gross revenue?”
They also queried TCCL’s insistence that tenants pay the CAM charges plus VAT on their April rent. They said these charges secure not only the interest of tenants but also those of the mall owner.
They suggested: “As a stimulus package for the survival of our businesses we propose a six-month three-way joint venture recovery period once we begin uninterrupted operations.
“An offer of one-third of tenants’ rental contractual obligation to the mall, the mall absorbs one-third of the tenants’ rental obligation as an incentive to their recovery and the mall approach the government by way of a grant to cover the other one-third loss in rental revenue.”