COVID-19 RESPONSE: Tenant Relief & Assistance Programs
We’re all in this together – and together, we’ll get through this.
As Washington State stays at home to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the economic costs of that prudent health policy are becoming more evident every day. The Port of Port Townsend understands and empathizes with the plight of all of its tenants, because in both good times and bad, our success is intertwined with your success.
In response to this crisis, the Port Commission has authorized staff to use several different tools to provide support and assistance to our tenants in this difficult time. These tools are intended to give our tenants confidence that they will be able to retain their businesses while focusing their financial capacity and attention on remaining viable. We want to help Port businesses through this incredibly challenging time, and have listed below actions the Port can take – for further information, please consult the contacts below:
- Late Fees & Finance Charges Waived: All late fees and finance charges for delinquent rent payments have been waived through June 30, 2020. Depending upon the course of the pandemic and economic conditions, this may be extended further.
- Rent Increases Delayed: All adjustments to rents (annual consumer price index, or CPI) and base rate adjustments have been delayed through June 30, 2020. Again, depending upon the course of the pandemic and economic conditions, this may be extended further.
- Deferred Rent Agreements Available: The Commission has authorized Port staff to enter into agreements allowing tenants to defer payment of rents for a period of time. This allows us to provide a little breathing room to those businesses most directly and adversely affected by this unprecedented health emergency. Key program requirements include:
- A maximum of three (3) months’ rent may be deferred;
- Deferred rents must be repaid with fifteen (15) months (including the deferral period), although repayment by December 31, 2020, is strongly encouraged;
- Tenant remains responsible for paying utilities and taxes during the “time out” period; and
- Tenant rents must be current at the time deferral is requested.
- Lower Rate Month-to-Month Storage Agreements: This program applies specifically to those tenants whose livelihoods depend upon congregations of people, or whose businesses have been required to close by the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. If you are in this group of tenants and are contemplating terminating your lease and vacating your premises, we can work with you to “mothball” your operation at a storage rate of $0.25 per foot on a month-to-month basis under the following conditions:
- You agree to “tender” or terminate your term lease agreement with the Port;
- You are a commercial building tenant;
- You are current with rents and a tenant in good standing;
- You agree that the premises will only be used for passive storage uses on a month-to-month basis, with no business activity of any kind;
- You agree to allow the Port to actively market the premises during the month-to-month storage agreement;
- If a prospective tenant desires to lease the premises, you will be given a “right of first refusal” to lease the premises at the applicable market rate; or
- Alternatively, you could choose to vacate the premises.
This program allows you to potentially restart your business when conditions improve, enables you to forego the cost and trouble of moving and storing your furniture and equipment, and provides an income stream (although reduced) to the Port.
- Deferred Payment Plans for Commercial & Permanent Live-Aboard Moorage Tenants: The Commission has also authorized Port staff to offer deferred payments to our commercial and permanent live-aboard moorage tenants. For those of you whose water-based businesses or homes are threatened by the economic consequences of the pandemic, we can offer help. We have the ability to provide you with up to three (3) months of deferred moorage. Program eligibility requirements include:
- You must be a moorage tenant in good standing at the time of your request for deferral; and
- Submission of a written request to the Port that describes how the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unanticipated and unavoidable financial hardship to you.
REAL PROPERTY QUESTIONS: For details and information concerning real property agreements, please contact Sue Nelson, the Port’s Leasing and Contracts Administrator via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 360-385-0410.
MOORAGE QUESTIONS: If you are interested in a deferred moorage agreement and are a commercial or live-aboard moorage tenant, please contact the Boat Haven Moorage Office at 360-385-2355.