BlackWall Property Trust (ASX: BWR) has announced it will be offering rent abatements or deferrals to tenants suffering due to the Covid-19 crisis, with co-working provider WOTSO WorkSpace set to be one of the key beneficiaries.
The trust has put forward a strategy to give its tenants the best chance of survival while limiting the impact on its property owners.
"Our approach is to provide rent abatements for all small businesses where economic survival is at risk and to offer rent deferrals to those tenants needing cash flow support," the group said.
"Accordingly, we have advised the 10 coffee shops and restaurants in our portfolio that no rent will be payable for April.
"We will review this on a monthly basis until the crisis passes. Some other small or vulnerable tenants have also been provided with rent abatements while others have been offered a mix of rent abatements and rent deferrals."
The company noted it will look to its larger and more secure tenants to meet their commitments during this time so that it can support those that are more vulnerable.
WOTSO is a significant tenant in BlackWall's portfolio and is expected to have its cashflow "severely impacted".
"WOTSO has offered all members the opportunity to suspend their memberships at this time with offices and or desks preserved for when members return.
"WOTSO rents space to some essential services so, as long as the law permits, WOTSO will remain open regardless of the number of members on site.
"Rent for all WOTSO facilities in our portfolio will be deferred subject to review on a monthly basis."
BlackWall joint managing director and COO Jess Glew tells Business News Australia that of the 17 WOTSO sites Australia-wide, 10 are within BlackWall properties including eight within its property trust and two within the broader group.
She says WOTSO normally accounts for around 30 per cent of the trust's rental revenue.
BWR explains it has adequate cash reserves, but to be prepared in uncertain times the trust has arranged an additional debt facility for the group which is being drawn today.
"BWR will then have $22 million cash on hand and will continue to retain significant capacity to expand with gearing at 24 per cent (up from 20 per cent at 31 December 2019)."
Updated at 12:29pm AEDT on 30 March 2020.
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