Chris Waters was staring down the barrel of closing his commercial shop fitters business until he called his landlord.
Chris Waters was staring down the barrel of closing his commercial shop fitters business until he called his landlord.

How generous landlord saved this business

CHRIS Waters was staring down the barrel of closing his commercial shop fitters business until his landlord came to the rescue.

The owner of AC Fitouts, based in Upper Coomera, said two to three weeks ago new business for his company, which does office, education, retail and medical jobs, stopped.

"We were on track for a pretty good year with turnover 25 per cent up on the year before," he said.

"Apart from jobs we had that were on the go everything stopped.

AC Fitouts in Upper Coomera has been given a four-month break from paying rent by its landlord. This means the business, combined with the JobKeeper subsidy, will be able to keep operating. Paul Langer and Neil Major at the Upper Coomera premises. Picture: Jerad Williams
AC Fitouts in Upper Coomera has been given a four-month break from paying rent by its landlord. This means the business, combined with the JobKeeper subsidy, will be able to keep operating. Paul Langer and Neil Major at the Upper Coomera premises. Picture: Jerad Williams

"It is tough and we have 15 staff and at that point before the jobkeeper stuff came out we were looking at having to get rid of all our staff."

Mr Waters said he approached his landlord to have a conversation about rent reduction or a waiver.

"We went straight into what we can do try and get our doors open and survive this three to six moth period or however long it is going to be.

"We jumped on the phone and rang our landlord and said, hey mate can you come in and have a chat and explained the situation.

"He agreed to put our rent on hold until the end of July and then we would have another conversation after that."

The rent freeze came before Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week announced a new scheme under which commercial landlords will have to reduce leases in proportion to the reduction in the tenant's business.

Mr Waters said he is hopeful that this combined with a bank deferral for a business loan and the jobkeeper program should be enough for the business to survive the tough times ahead.

"If we had to continue paying our rent as well as our mortgage as well as doing whatever we can to support our staff there is no way we would make six months of a lockdown period.

"The fact that he was understanding of where our business was at and he stood by us was really nice. He definitely has our loyalty for a long time to come."

Co owner Paul Langer said the business was "very fortunate".

He said other tenants he has spoken to had told him their landlords were not budging on the rent.

Landlord Ben Airey he believes landlords and tenants need to share the burden imposed by COVID-19 restrictions

"I'd rather share the pain so we have an ongoing relationship on the other side of this otherwise you send them broke and you have nothing but an empty shed," he said.

Originally published as How Coast landlord saved this business


MORE DETAILS: What is causing Telstra outages in Ballina?

Premium Content MORE DETAILS: What is causing Telstra outages in Ballina?

Residents may not be able to use phones during 'planned maintenance'

Mining giant accused of taking covert photos of child

Mining giant accused of taking covert photos of child

Private investigator working for Adani photographed child