Earlier this week landlords should have been collecting rent from their tenants on the high street. Many local shop tenants won’t be able to pay what is due. The SME club is campaigning to #saveourshops and believe the Govt needs to do more and change the balance in favour of the UK SME owners and not the landlords. Pausing rent whilst the shops were forced to close only delays a huge issue and isn't a solution.
Keith Pearlman, partner at law firm DMH Stallard and an expert in commercial property litigation, agrees that the high street will suffer major setbacks if tenants aren’t given flexibility.
Keith Pearlman said: “Any lack of flexibility by landlords and/or tenants will be another nail in the coffin for retail and the high street.
“However, ‘flexibility’ won’t be easy for most landlords. Their income has been at risk for at least six months (March and June quarters rent) and will be for many months to come. Perceived short-term gains’ for tenants will doubtless cause long-term pain for landlords and tenants alike. “Traditional methods used by landlords to collect outstanding rent – threats to forfeit leases, tenant insolvency, sending in bailiffs – have been put on hold until to 30 September following government intervention.
“Landlords, under pressure from lenders, and tenants are having to face the reality of increasing liabilities in the form deferred rent arrears; repayments over agreed future periods; monthly rental payments in arrears; ‘turnover rents’; the abolition of upward only rent reviews. “The pandemic has brought into sharp focus many of the discussions going on behind the scenes in the commercial property world.”