South African landlords announce relief for retail tenants

South Africa’s property owners will provide relief to retail tenants hardest hit by a nationwide lockdown introduced last month to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The initiative, which focuses on small, medium and micro-sized enterprises, will be rolled out by landlords nationally, the Property Industry Group said in a statement published on the website of the South African Real Estate Investment Trusts Association on Tuesday.

The initiative aims to preserve jobs for retailers, their suppliers and service providers, the group said. To qualify for relief, retail tenants will need to undertake not to retrench staff.

All tenants whose accounts were in good standing at end-February will be assured that there won’t be any evictions for the next two months, while retailers prevented from trading in compliance with the lockdown will be offered some form of assistance from landlords.

For April and May, retail landlords will offer relief in the form of discounts, where rents will be waived partially or fully, and interest-free deferments that will be recovered over six to nine months from July, the group said.

The Property Industry Group includes real-estate organizations in South Africa, including the SA REIT Association, SA Property Owners Association and the SA Council of Shopping Centres. It was formed in March to coordinate the industry’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic effects.

Read: South Africa’s new relief fund for restaurants and hotels will be guided by BEE: minister

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South African landlords announce relief for retail tenants