Small Businesses Need Rent Breaks. But Landlords Are in Crisis, Too.

“I said, ‘Well, I can’t meet those terms, and I’ll be out on Sept. 30, your place will be broom swept,’” she said, adding that she was planning to file for bankruptcy.

The landlord, Greg Fournier with Greenbrook Partners, did not respond to requests for comment.

“It’s just another really sad story, of many more dozen people losing their livelihoods, myself included,” Ms. Stromberg said.

Other negotiations have produced happier outcomes. Blaire Papagni has owned Anella, a restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, since 2009. Anella shut down in March, opened for takeout in the middle of May and for outdoor customers in late June.

She laid off 22 employees, but was able to bring back eight. She has been kept afloat in part, she said, by her landlord’s willingness to cut her a break. Ms. Papagni declined to provide specific numbers, but said she has been paying roughly half her normal rent.

“It’s something that we’re trying to work out with our landlord on a monthly basis,” she said.

At the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a vast city-owned complex that houses hundreds of artisans, artists and small manufacturers, David Ehrenberg, the president and chief executive of the nonprofit corporation that manages the Yard, is trying to help struggling tenants. A typical adjustment includes forgiving one-third of the rent, deferring another third and requiring tenants to pay the remainder.

“Demanding that small businesses pay 100 percent of their rent in the worst pandemic in 100 years and the worst recession since the Great Depression hardly seems like a winning business proposition,” Mr. Ehrenberg said.

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