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office building lit up and seen from side showing offices (Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

Commercial office leases were on the chopping block last year as companies grappled with the impacts of COVID. Of the companies surveyed in a new Visual Lease report, 50% received some kind of monetary relief, with the majority of assistance coming from Paycheck Protection Program loans, leveraged insurance policies and lawsuits. One in five companies used rent relief funds toward rent obligations during state-mandated business closures, and for half of companies surveyed, that relief covered one to two months’ rent. For the remaining half of respondents, it covered three to four months.

About 54% of companies received some form of rent relief directly from their landlord.  For those receiving assistance, rent deferral was the most popular option (17%), with the majority of companies polled receiving deferral for two to three months. Other forms of assistance included rent reduction (13%), rent abatement (13%), early lease termination (6%), application of a security deposit toward rent (4%) and downsizing to a smaller space (15). Some companies used more than one strategy.

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