Retail landlords call for flexibility over rent arrears

Landsec British Land
A ban on evictions and debt collection from commercial tenants is due to be lifted on June 30
// Landsec and British Land bosses call for six months to agree a plan for rent arrears to be paid back
// The BRC warned that thousands of shops could close if property owners push tenants for unpaid rent

Landlords and tenants are reportedly calling for a six months timeframe to agree a plan for rent arrears to be paid back before entering into a binding arbitration.

Landsec chief executive Mark Allan and British Land chief executive Simon Carter want landlords and occupiers to work “constructively together as economic partners to resolve this situation”.

A ban on evictions and debt collection from commercial tenants is due to be lifted on June 30.


READ MORE: 70 UK shopping centres at threat of permanent closure


Carter and Allan said that a solution to the commercial property moratoriums and accrued rent arrears is within reach, The Times reported.

They call for tenants and landlords to be given six months to reach an agreement on how to resolve the £6 billion of arrears that have accrued since the moratorium was introduced in March last year.

High street retailers, including H&M, JD Sports and Boots, took advantage of the policy to withhold rent.

The BRC has warned that thousands of shops could close if property owners push tenants for unpaid rent.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said that it entered discussions with UK Hospitality and had talked to the government about the possibility of ring-fencing the historic debt relating to the periods of closure.

“Rather than a blanket extension of the moratorium, we’re looking at the historic issues, keeping the protection in place over that historic rent, to give time for those discussions between the landlords and the tenants to resolve themselves over the coming months,” she said.

In late May, the BRC said two-thirds of retailers face legal action once the rent moratorium ends in July, as the sector sits on £2.9 billion worth of unpaid rents.

Last week, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) called on the government to extend the moratorium on commercial evictions for businesses below 30 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

The lobby group said the government should let the commercial evictions ban expire on June 30.

It also called to extend targeted support for businesses in sectors like hospitality and theatres until the end of the year.

Landsec and British Land said that if agreements cannot be reached in six months’ time then both parties should enter into a binding arbitration.

Click here to sign up to Retail Gazette’s free daily email newsletter

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here