Commercial Landlords with Tenants Unable to Pay

Window with for rent sign

The following resources have been compiled to help support and make whole landlords with commercial tenants unable to pay rent due the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local Assistance Programs

Do You Need Financial Assistance?

Kirkland’s (re)StartUp425 Business Response Team can help connect small businesses and commercial landlords to funding sources and other financial support related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Language assistance available. For help, contact: or call (206) 324-4330 or visit the (re)Startup425 website. 

Landlord Assistance and Relief

Limited Landlord Relief Program: Low-income landlords can receive up to 80% of unpaid rents from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021

Landlord COVID-19 Relief Programs: Landlords can receive up to $15,000 for unpaid rents from March 1, 2020 through December 31st, 2021 for tenants who have defaulted on a repayment plan or vacated the unit without being evicted by court order.

Tenant Preservation Program: Provides court-approved zero-interest loans to tenants to satisfy a judgment awarded to the landlord during an eviction for non-payment of rent and up to three months of future rents.

Landlord Damage Relief Program:  Landlords can receive up to $5,000 for repairs made to damage caused by a subsidized tenant and up to $1,000 plus up to 14 days of rent loss for making repairs required to pass an HQS inspection for subsidy.

The City of Kirkland may provide assistance for landlords with tenants behind in rent or have questions about the extended moratorium/protections in place. Email or (425) 587-3326.   

Legal Services and Other Assistance

Communities Rise offers legal assistance and COVID-19 related assistance to small business owners and nonprofit and community-based organizations. If your commercial real estate business is a small business they may be able to assist.

Conflict Resolution Services

The Bellevue Conflict Resolution Center (BCRC) offers mediation assistance related to conflict resolution including eviction resolution. The service is available in multiple languages to Eastside businesses seeking conflict resolution with their commercial landlords. Please fill out the landlord/tenant rent negotiation intake form or contact us at 425-452-4091 or to make an appointment with a conciliator. Interpretation services provided as needed.

State Assistance Programs

Small Business Flex Fund: Washington State

NEW: Small Business Flex Fund Loan Program

Small business owners and nonprofits across Washington can apply for low interest loans of up to $150,000 through the newly-launched Small Business Flex Fund. The Fund is a public-private partnership aimed at helping small businesses and nonprofits – particularly those in low-income communities – recover and grow as communities across the state reopen for business. Interested applicants pre-apply on the Flex Fund’s online portal and, if they qualify, will be matched with a lender.

Federal Assistance Programs


The Small Business Association (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is open for applications through December 31, 2021. This loan provides economic relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Please contact our Business Response Team for technical assistance applying for an EIDL loan, for rules governing use of funds and all other help. Contact our Business Response Team for help. 

SBA PPP Forgivable Loan

New applications to the Small Business Association (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are now closed. However, proceeds from PPP loans may be used by recipients to cover cash flow losses and pay for cost of operations including rent. Please contact our Business Response Team for details on the use of PPP forgivable loan proceeds to cover rent arears, and/or to apply for forgiveness for your PPP loan.

Mitigating Rent Arears for Commercial Landlords and Tenants

The COVID-19 pandemic created cash flow problems for small business owners and as a result many are behind on rent payments. Rent arears can also cause cash flow problems for commercial landlords, particularly if there is a mortgage on the building in questions which needs to be services. There are no winners in this situation. Please contact our Business Response Team for FREE help with funding solutions. What follows are some suggestions for tenants experiencing rent arears, and rental mitigation strategies for commercial businesses and landlords to consider ( 

Rental Mitigation Strategies for Commercial Tenants and Landlords

  1. Rent Reduction: The landlord can reduce the tenant's rent for a portion or all of the term left on the lease. The usual forms of rent reduction are to reduce the base rent, operating expenses, or both. In regard to retail, it is possible to convert base rent to percentage rent;
  2. Rent Deferral: In this case, the landlord can defer a portion of the tenant's rent but would require them to repay the rent deferred at a later time, either in a lump sum or by increasing subsequent payments. A variation of rent deferral could be to cap or set a base year to operating expenses for a short or extended period of time.
  3. Rent Abatement/Forgiveness: If a tenant is significantly past due on rent payments, a landlord may agree to forgive a certain amount of the past due rent if the tenant remains current thereafter.
  4. Loan Conversion: Rather than abating past due rent, a landlord may agree to convert the past due rent into a loan payable over time. The tenant would, however, continue to pay the current rent. The loan is then evidenced by a promissory note that is cross-defaulted with the lease;
  5. Application of Deposit: If the landlord holds a deposit, this amount could be credited against the tenant's current obligations;
  6. Subletting: Bringing in a new tenant (for part of or all of the rented space) could reduce or eliminate the rent obligations while replacing revenue for the landlord.