Rental relief for some retailers

Oryx Properties grants packages

28 April 2020 | Business

… our immediate focus is for the month of April. – Ben Jooste, CEO: Oryx

Yolanda Nel – Except for the Covid-19 pandemic that has had an influence on all businesses countrywide, retailers have already been exposed to a multi-year recession.

Oryx Properties is aware that businesses are past the point of tightening their belts and are now using savings, and therefore in principle, granting rental relief packages is the right thing to do in this situation.

According to chief executive officer of Oryx Properties, Ben Jooste, the decision to grant rental relief packages is one that will differ from one property company to another and that such a decision will be completely discretionary and based on each company’s particular circumstances.

“Covid-19 has not only changed our way of life, but cuts across most industries and businesses,” he said, adding that Oryx Properties believes that the country, which includes government and all businesses, should stand together as a solid front in the face of the pandemic.

Jooste said that Oryx has engaged with a number of Namibian peers and international partners and associations, including the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), who has come up with a relief package for retailers to help during this time.

‘Balanced’

“The aim of the rental relief package is to assist small Namibian business owners to ensure that their operations can continue after this period of hardship with the ultimate aim to retain jobs and preserve household incomes within the retail sector. The relief package is a balanced form of relief that looks after the needs of both the landlord and tenant,” Jooste said.

Each tenant’s individual circumstance will be determined, reviewed and categorised, and based on their discretion, a rental relief package will be offered to individual tenants.

‘Immediately’

The essence of the relief package is that there are different categories of tenants with corresponding relief considerations.

Asked when this relief will be implemented, he said that given the current circumstances, they are acting immediately.

“We believe that the impact of the pandemic will be felt throughout the industry at various levels. As such, retailers are likely to be the worst impacted in April during lockdown, and therefore our immediate focus is for the month of April.”

He added that it is evident that there are a number of unknown variables that can impact their tenants which may include the length of the lockdown period, the operational context post lockdown and more.

“Oryx will therefore continue to monitor the situation and make decisions on the individual circumstances of the respective tenant.”