British Property Federation: Commercial property industry stands ready to support businesses hurt by the devastating impact of COVID-19
20 March 2020, London: The British Property Federation (BPF) today publishes a statement, on behalf of the commercial property industry, to urge any business in financial distress ahead of the first rent quarter day of 2020 to speak to their landlord as soon as possible.
The first rent quarter day is on 25 March and the commercial property industry is committed to supporting its customers who are concerned, through no fault of their own but due to coronavirus, about rent liabilities. Businesses will have immediate relief measures available to them – flexibility around rents and other lease terms could include moving from quarterly to monthly rent payments and providing rent deferrals or payment holidays, depending on individual business’ financial circumstances.
Property owners, however, are similarly facing the impacts of coronavirus on their own businesses and will need further intervention from Government – including measures such as rent subsidies to tenants – if they are going to help as many businesses as possible come through the next few weeks.
The retail, leisure and hospitality businesses at the heart of our high streets are at the sharp end of the unfolding global health pandemic and property owners are already working with these customers who are in temporary distress.
As the disruption continues, the challenges facing these businesses will spread to other types of property occupiers and to all parts of the economy. Property owners will stand ready to support those that need it, to create workable solutions that protect their future as well as the 45 million savers and pensioners around the country whose money is invested in commercial property.
BPF – Commercial Statement on Coronavirus
The British Property Federation welcomes the actions the Government has taken so far to support businesses affected by Coronavirus and its willingness to take further action as this fast-moving situation continues to develop and hits all parts of the economy. We expect further measures to be announced urgently both to support and underpin all actors within the economy to play their part and maintain supply chains, and to support individual household incomes so that the country can recover as quickly as possible.
The retail, leisure and hospitality businesses at the heart of our high streets are at the sharp end of the crisis and property owners are already working with their retail, leisure and hospitality customers who are in temporary distress in the run-up to the first rent quarter day of 2020, to be more flexible on rent and other lease terms, including for example by moving from quarterly to monthly rent payments and providing rent deferrals or payment holidays.
As the disruption continues, the challenges facing these businesses will spread to other types of property occupiers and property owners will stand ready to support those that need it.
Our members take seriously their responsibilities to their customers and to the communities in which they provide a safe built environment that underpins all of our lives.
Our members are committed to working with their customers at this difficult time to find solutions that protect both retail and hospitality businesses in distress, and the 45 million savers and pensioners around the country whose money is invested in their buildings.
Any business in financial difficulties due to the impact of the Coronavirus, should already be speaking to their funders as well as their landlords to agree a plan to sustain their operations wherever possible. If not, we urge them to do so as soon as possible. Our members will work with all their tenants constructively during these immensely difficult times.
British Property Federation
Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation comments:
“Property owners are already working with their retail, leisure and hospitality customers to be more flexible on rent and other lease terms, understanding they have a responsibility to sustain businesses in temporary distress and the communities where they are invested. Property owners are committed to working hand in hand with their customers through this very difficult time and will balance support for their customers with their duties to investors, who represent the savings and pensions of 45 million people around the country.
"We urge those businesses who find themselves in financial difficulties, through no fault of their own but due to the impact of the coronavirus, to contact their landlord to discuss payment plans as soon as possible.”