COVID-19: A Tale of Two Rent Concessions
In the words of Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Two tenants each received a $150,000 rent concession from their landlord. One tenant saw an immediate $150,000 improvement in net income, the other only $16,666. As a broker helping tenants make important decisions about their business, you must understand why this happened before you finalize another rent concession / lease restructure.
COVID-19 related rent concessions – rent deferrals or abatements – take many forms. Often, they are combined with a lease extension, or even a contraction, expansion and/or an early termination. But the way these concessions have to be accounted for differs depending on what’s happening alongside the rent concession.
For example, consider this basic example of a tenant who currently has 24 months of remaining term and its monthly rent is $50,000. Assume the landlord agrees to defer the rent for April, May and June and offers two different options:
1. Leave the lease term as is with 24 months of remaining term, and pay the $150,000 of deferred rent in three equal monthly payments in the last three months of the term.
2. Extend the term of the lease by three months and repay the deferred rent during those three extra months.
These sound pretty equivalent, since in both scenarios, the same amount of rent is being paid. However, the accounting outcomes can be quite different.
In the first scenario, not only will the tenant preserve cash, but it would be allowed to credit its P&L by $150,000 in Q2 … right now! That could be hugely important for a company’s profitability today. In the last three months of the term, they would add the $150,000 that is then being paid to their P&L expense, but by that time this disruption will behind us and they can plan for that added expense accordingly.
In the second scenario, because the lease term was extended, your client cannot credit its P&L by $150,000 in Q2. Instead, the lease accounting rules require them to amend the lease, recast the rent schedule and add the three months of term. This results in a new calculation of straight line rent on their P&L, which will only reduce their P&L expense by $5,555 per month ($150,000 / 27 months). If your client is trying to shore up profitability right now, that’s only a $16,666 improvement in its P&L in Q2.
So, it’s really important to think beyond the cash and understand what your client cares about and what their options are.
To help you, LeaseCalcs has developed a COVID-19 Lease Accounting Guide that spells out all of the different real world scenarios, the accounting options and implications. Do you know which option is better for your P&L right now? Which option helps improve balance sheet metrics? EBTIDA?
Download LeaseCalcs’ guide to dealing with COVID-19 related lease concessions so you and your client make the right decision. Better yet, share it with them today!