Covid-19 Impact: Crane Management Hints at Waiving Tenants’ Rent Arrears

Rajiv Ruparelia

The Managing Director of Crane Management Services, Rajiv Ruparelia has revealed that the company is weighing waiving rent arrears for all their customers working in their buildings.

Crane Management Services is a real estate company that owns and manages a number of arcades and buildings in Kampala’s central business area.

A number of arcade operators have since come out demanding for a waiver from their landlords for the months that the country has been under lockdown following calls by landlords requiring that they must pay rent arrears before opening up for business.

While releasing the new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that will be followed at every building, Rajiv noted that waiving rent arrears for arcade operators is one of the moves they are considering, although it should be supported by government.

Rajiv noted that although they have put in place measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, government has to intervene, such that in case landlords waive rent arrears, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and utility providers should also give landlords a tax waiver.

We are one big family, a building is useless without tenants, however, tenants can’t operate without a building. So we are like a marriage, and this marriage is very intimate but unfortunately, government has not given any waivers to this industry,” Rajiv said.

He added that, if you look at it, URA has only deferred their payments, they have not said that this year we are going to give special considerations where we are going to write off taxes for companies, if you look at NSSF, they have not given any conditions where companies can reduce the liabilities to pay NSSF.

Rajiv noted that all the entities are only deferring payments but that is not solving a problem as an economy or for landlords.

Even the Central Bank has given some ease to the commercial banks but does not tell the banks that we have given some special liquidity in order to be able to subsidize the interest that you will face because landlords cannot pay the banks, Rajiv noted.

On the other hand, Rajiv said, as a way of resuming business amidst the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, the company has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) to all tenants occupying their buildings around Kampala.

COVID-19 is not going to disappear soon, so the question is how do we operate within its framework and the measures we have put in place are quite simple. We have already ordered for many hand washing stations that will be placed at every entrance of the building, Rajiv said.

He noted that the company will work hand in hand with their tenants to ensure that all the SOPs are observed and followed religiously, because it is in the interest of both landlords and tenants to start opening up the buildings.

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