Giant Mall Company Demands Rent From Tenants While Negotiating Rent Forbearance For Themselves

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Brookfield Asset Management, one of the largest mall operators and retail landlords in North America, is demanding retailers pay rent they owe even for months were their respective malls were closed. All while negotiating better terms from their lending companies and skipping some payments altogether.

Store owners and shopkeepers who lease kiosks in Brookfield Malls have been told to pay rent for April and May, months where their properties were mostly closed. Several tenants who asked for rent forgiveness say they were told to provide extensive financial information, including personal tax returns for the past two years. This according to a report by the Financial Times.

“The merchants, who requested anonymity for fear of antagonizing a powerful landlord, said Brookfield ultimately refused to waive the payments, although it offered to give them until the end of 2021 to come up with the money.”

But Brookfield itself is requesting forbearance from lenders and in some cases Brookfield properties have been unable to make mortgage payments that have come due, highlighting apparent hypocrisy in their dealings on the subject of rent payments.

A group of about half a dozen tenants negotiated jointly and asked for rent help, for example. Their request was not received warmly: “I will not address the merits of your ‘petition’,” a Brookfield lawyer responded in writing. They also added that talking to other tenants about lease terms could violate confidentiality clauses written into their contracts and “could be deemed a default of your agreement with Brookfield.”

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