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Last updated: May 06, 2020

What Would You Do: I’m A Suite Renter & My Salon Owner Wants Back Rent

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Expecting A Suite Renter To Pay Back Rent—Is It Right?

Suite/booth renters: Did your salon owner pause rent payments only to come back and say they expect repayment for all the weeks you couldn’t work? You’re not alone and because financial stress is at the top of everyone’s mind, we posted the question on our Instagram and Facebook to find out whether it’s right or wrong and what options renters have with zero income.


Here’s the TL;DR:

After reading through hundreds of responses, it’s clear the BTC Community is divided. The short answer is this: Whether charging back rent is right or wrong is totally your opinion, but suite/booth renters have options if paying rent feels impossible right now. So we’re breaking down those options below PLUS sharing both sides of the debate.


DISCLAIMER: The following ideas presented in this article were suggestions made by our BTC Community of industry pros. For legal advice, the best move always is to consult an attorney. We are not responsible for the accuracy of legal claims made in our forums or social media pages, so please do your research!




Asking Suite Renters To Pay Back Rent—Is It Fair?

You Can’t Work So Why Should You Have To Pay Back Rent?

“I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s right to charge back rent. No one is making money—not them and not you. Not fair of them to expect you to pay something when you can’t even go to work.” – @the_answer_to_your_hairs 


“Salon owners chose to take on all the responsibilities of owning a shop. Unfortunately, that means they take the losses, too…I understand everyone has bills but we don’t own the building. We rent a chair and I can get a chair anywhere…” – @jennifer_tatum1982 


“I don’t think it’s fair to charge your stylists rent when they cannot access the building and use the facility. As a salon owner, that is your responsibility and when things like this happen, it’s on you. That just comes with owning a business. Yes, it sucks because they still have to pay the landlord rent. But once again, that’s what comes with owning your own salon.” – @emilyrosebarnett


“I think if they are getting the money from the government, then no, you shouldn’t have to pay as you no longer have the means to earn the money you would need to pay them…It’s a really hard situation for all, I get that, but I do think it’s a bit mean of your salon.” – @franselby 


“I think that is absolutely absurd to make you pay back pay. I know that these are tough times for stylists and owners alike. I know there are some salons who are letting their stylists have the first month back free of rent. I also realize that not everyone can financially afford that. But I do not find it fair to make you pay rent for the weeks you have not been actively working.” – @audrey_h03 


“This is ludicrous. You shouldn’t have to pay rent when you can’t make money or occupy a station.” – @chacha_stylista_ 


“I’m sorry but I just don’t agree with taking rent from people when the government states they are not allowed to work. As a salon owner/landlord myself, I see it as my responsibility to make sure the bills and salon is covered before I take any rent from any self employed workers. The way I see it, it’s like being told you can’t live in a house yet but you must still pay rent for it. I just feel it’s morally wrong and owners should realize how much profit they make the rest of the time from these people and allow them a little let up.” – @ventushairbeauty 


Your Salon Owner Still Has Bills To Pay So It’s Only Fair

“IMO, if you want to work for yourself and be a booth renter, you have to take everything that comes with it. I share a small studio with my friend. We are both paying the owner of the building rent while we are shut down because that’s the cost of doing business. We all have bills to pay and it’s a crappy situation for everyone, but it doesn’t mean someone else should have to eat your cost.” – Chrissy Hemberger Shirk
“Unpopular opinion but I think this is fair. Renters sign contracts, right? It’s the same as your cell phone bill or car payment. You owe them money monthly. If owners aren’t charging booth renters right now, it’s to the booth renters advantage but to the owners hardship. Back rent in the future is covering/catching up the hardships that owners are experiencing RIGHT NOW. I think we forget (in some cases don’t know) the true cost of operating salons.” – @lorenlifka 
“Why shouldn’t the stylists pay back the rent? Our bills are still due, and I haven’t received a cent from any assistance/loan I’ve applied for.” – @michelle_nicole_starnes 
“Landlord still has to pay rent whether you come into work or not. The bills need to be paid. Nobody is getting away with not paying things, but we are getting a break with not having to pay on time. That is all. No one is getting a free ride. We are all in the same boat.” – Shellie Verville
“OK but if the owner felt the same way and just stopped paying bills and lost the building and business, would you be upset with not having a job to return to?” – @cicelydoesmyhair 


“You chose to be your own boss, even when times are tough. The salon owner is just the landlord that still has to pay! So please, if you want to be your own boss then that means pay your rent.” – Terra Cox Butler


“I feel it is only fair to pay all of your rent. You signed a contract that you were responsible for that rent. The building owner/space leaser has also signed a contract that they must pay. That is how business works. You took on that responsibility when you rented the space to be your own boss. I do believe that landlords should work with tenants to make a payment plan that will work over time. Also, many people are thinking that small businesses will get loans and grants. At this time, it is not clear if many will ever be considered.” – @mamajewlzz 



Unable To Pay Rent? Here Are 3 Options For Suite/Booth Renters To Consider:
Talk To Your Salon Owner About An Agreement Of Some Kind

“…A fair alternative would be cutting the profits—if there are any at this time—and to take the hit with us. We can’t even get into the building so there’s zero curbside pickup to keep income flowing. We want the buildings to be there when we get to open, so they need to pay the bills. I think charging the least you can to renters to pay bills is the most fair way to handle this. As a community, we need to work together. We need the buildings open but we need the companies to remain inside. We all need each other—this is not a time for greed.” – @hairbysarayah 


“Our owner added up the basic bills and we divided that overhead cost amongst 20 stylists, and the owner was included in that division. We all pay $200 a month so our salon will survive and nobody will go into debt. No one makes a profit, owner included, and we have a salon to walk back into when this is all over. We saved it together. Teamwork instead of profit!” – @hellogail7 


“Maybe extend the contract (if there is one) for the amount of time that has been taken off and add that rent to the backend of the contract.” – @hairatage_m 


“My landlord sent me a new amended lease for April and May to pay half rent for each of the two months. It’s hard but fair.” – @giseles_salon 


“The rent in the salon or mortgage should be split completely by the staff. Since nobody is working, the electric and heating bill should be low. This amount should all be added together and split between the workers. It should be significantly less than rent as there is no need for water, heating the salon, electric or an opportunity for anyone to make money off anyone at this time.” – @evenhouse1 


File For Unemployment & ANY Loans You Can

“Booth renters are their own businesses and need to apply for the small business loans. The owner of the building still needs to pay the mortgage and all the bills associated with the building.” – @cheryldean70 


“Get unemployment or wait for the stimulus benefits. Hell, get your own SBA [Small Business Administration] or PPP [Payroll Protection Program] loan to cover your expenses.” – Vikki D. Alden


“File for unemployment. In Utah, even self employed and Uber drivers can now apply. Use that to pay your rent.” – @aprilp235 


“Apply for your own loan as a small business. It is under the disaster relief portion on the SBA website.” – @watkins_bryan 


Does all this unemployment and loan talk have your head spinning? Here are some resources for you to learn more about them:


Review Your Contract + Seek Professional Legal Advice

“I’m not an attorney, but if the salon was ordered closed by your governor they would not be able to honor their end of the contract, so you should not be responsible for the rent. Also, you’re unable to earn income due to no fault of your own. I would check your state laws, view your contract and get legal advice if possible.” – @colorbykenneth 


“…If you are getting charged, I would look into legal rights. You do not own the building. They cannot provide a place of work for you. I would contact an attorney…” – @karrymarie 


“I would assume you have a signed contract. I would reread it and see what the terms of your contract are.” – @annaorigamiowl 


Suite/Booth Renters: How To Make Money While In Quarantine