Trade bodies call for introduction of 'Property Bounceback grant'

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Landlords and operators call for introduction of Property Bounceback grant commercial rent support Government

Related tags Rent Restaurant Landlord Government coronavirus

Landlords and operators have issued a joint call for a joint call for a Government-backed Property Bounceback grant to facilitate in rent negotiations.

The proposal, put together by The British Property Federation (BPF), British Retail Consortium (BRC), Revo, Uk Active and UKHospitality, would see the Government issue grants of up to 50% of rent and service charges between March and September.

Its aim is to try and solve the rent crisis looming over the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors and the wider property industry.

The trade bodies, which represent both landlords and tenants between them, have issued the call due to the scale of the rent crisis brought about by Coronavirus. 

They say the grant would see Government investing in the short term to support businesses and landlords whose premises had to close as a result of Coronavirus, for long term economic, employment and social gain.

Analysis commissioned by the five trade bodies found that if Government support covered 50% of unpaid rents across the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors for just six months, it would cost £1.75bn. 

However, the total return to the Treasury in terms of tax revenue from economic activity would be almost £7bn, and 375,000 jobs would be saved – a return on investment of almost 400%.

If rent support were extended to cover businesses that had already reached rent payment agreements, the cost would rise to £4.7bn, with a total return of over £11bn to the UK economy, preventing the loss of over 630,000 jobs.

Grants would be conditional on an agreement by the landlord and tenant to account for the remaining 50% of the rent and service charges through the Government’s 'code of practice'.

They would also be focused on those businesses that were closed for the longest time, and unable to generate revenue.

In a joint statement the trade bodies said:

“Many retail, leisure and hospitality businesses across the UK have been closed for months.

"Even where they have reopened, footfall remains down significantly on pre-coronavirus levels. Similarly, landlords have been walking a tightrope to support their customers and protect the pensions and savings of millions of people invested in commercial property across the country.

“Many landlords and tenants are working collaboratively to agree new payment plans, but there remains a significant proportion of rent unpaid. Many businesses will never be able to pay this debt and many landlords cannot afford to sustain losses of this scale.

"Government must step in and provide rent support, otherwise we will see more businesses closed, more jobs gone and more high streets devastated.

“Without urgent action on rents, many otherwise viable businesses are, through no fault of their own, at imminent risk of failure.

"Where both landlord and tenant are able to cover at least 50% of the rent owed, and are able to demonstrate they are working together as economic partners, government should have the confidence to invest in these businesses’ futures and prevent the needless loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

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