CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Everyone knows what’s always due at the first of the month, the rent or the mortgage payment.
During the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people have had trouble making those payments, especially business owners who had to shut their business down.
”A guy goes in and he needs a heart transplant and the cardiologist says well you’re in luck you have three options you can either have the 22-year-old Olympic swimmers heart, you’ve got a 20-year-old mountain bikers heart or we got a 65-year-old landlord’s heart so you get to pick which one," David Leob with Landlord Resources said. "I pick the landlord and the doctor goes why and he goes because I know it’s never been used.”
That was a joke to start off this Zoom interview with Loeb. He owns very familiar shopping centers like the Hamlin Center, Everhart Park, Doddridge Plaza and the market on Everhart and Weber Square.
His retail space equals 360,000 ft.² and he has a total of about 150 tenants. Since the pandemic, nearly every single one of them have asked for help with the rent at one time or another.
"I got a letter from just about every single one of them saying we don’t wanna pay our rent for the next couple of months and that includes some who clearly could pay," Loeb said.
Some weren’t allowed to skip their payments because they were part of a national chain. He has ended up working with about a third of his tenants to reduce, restructure or somehow change the rental agreement to help them out during this pandemic.
”The tenants who we knew were affected and didn’t have the ability to sustain, we did some workouts," Loeb said. "I’ve done a lot of referrals, look at their numbers and I say 'OK you can pay me half the rent now.' We will hold the other half until later, until this is over and we can come back and we can extend your lease for a couple of years. Maybe add a couple more hundred dollars a month and you can pay it off.”
Loeb said he realizes that the tenants who can’t pay are not at fault because they did not create this pandemic. He’s hoping that by working with them he will keep their business located in his retail space for the time being and hopefully for many more years to come.