Commenting on the new measures announced by BEIS to protect UK high streets from aggressive rent collection and closure, Andy Pyle, UK head of real estate at KPMG, said.
“The ongoing and sometimes heated debate between retailers and landlords on the payment of commercial rent during the COVID-19 crisis has seemingly been addressed – for now – in light of the latest announcement form BEIS. Landlords are now going to be blocked from issuing statutory demands and other vehicles of pressure for those who haven’t paid their rent. While there have been some instances of businesses facing such pressure from landlords, in some cases this has been because tenants haven’t been prepared to engage or discuss their position.
“There is a vital need for landlords and their customers or occupants to work collaboratively during this pandemic. Indeed, that is what the government and society at large is calling for. There are many examples of this already being the case, with the joint request from the British Retail Consortium, British Property Federation and REVO on a proposed Rent Support Furlough scheme being just one notable example. There are always going to be instances of occupants choosing not to pay rather than being unable to, but that should be an exception rather than the rule.
“This development from BEIS may unintentionally lead to less rental payments at June’s quarterly rent day, making the exploration of the proposed Rent Support Furlough scheme all the more important.”
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