As malls across the UK moved into lockdown following the enforced closure of all non-essential retail and leisure sites, landlords are moving to help smaller tenants struggling to meet rent payments.
British Land, which owns Meadowhall in Sheffield as well as a swathe of mixed-use destinations across central London, started by offering smaller F&B and leisure businesses a three-month rent freeze while all retail occupiers were given the option to pay rent monthly basis, rather than quarterly. The landlord said it would consider further concessions for smaller retailers on a case-by-case basis.
Grosvenor, owner of Meadowhall in Sheffield as well as the Mayfair and Belgravia estates in London, said it was offering rent deferrals and rent-free arrangements to independent and vulnerable retail tenants and other commercial businesses, including in some cases waiving this quarter’s rent payments.
The government announced a business rates holiday and introduced emergency legislation under which all commercial tenants will be protected from forfeiture of their leases for non-payment of rent for three months. The British Property Federation supported the move but chief executive Melanie Leech warned: “Property owners are similarly facing the impacts of coronavirus on their own businesses and will need further support – for example to meet their obligations to their lenders and to the savers and pensioners who rely on the income they generate – if they are going to help as many businesses as possible come through the next few weeks.”