The first bit of good
news is that more landlords have stepped up to the plate and joined the growing
list of those offering their tenants the option to switch to
turnover-based rents to help them through the current crisis. This
is no empty gesture. With the online versus bricks-and-mortar dynamic shifting
all the time, it is not getting any easier to calculate what turnover is, as
Argent’s David Partridge points out, and let’s not kid ourselves: landlords
will be sharing the pain rather than any gain with tenants for the foreseeable.
rent is better than no rent, which is what they will get if tenants go under.
Let’s hope the tenants see it that way as well and, in the spirit of the Code
of Practice, take the landlords up on their offer – rather than following the
dubious lead of those who could and should pay rent but won’t.
group of landlords that have taken matters into their own hands are those
with Travelodge as a tenant. Faced with a Hobson’s
choice of taking or leaving the terms of the hotel operator’s CVA, Travelodge
Owners Action Group founder Viv Watts has buddied up with Accor to launch AGO
Hotels, a ‘landlord-friendly’ platform offering landlords a real choice: stick
with Travelodge or twist to the ibis budget brand under a new leasing model. I
suspect it will have quite a few takers.
people starting to book summer breaks, things could finally be looking up for
the hotel sector. Green shoots of recovery can also be seen in the purpose-built student
accommodation lending sector after a near-shutdown in the real estate debt market and
workspace sector appears to be bouncing back as well. There has
reportedly been a significant increase in enquiries and requirements in recent
weeks, driven by three factors: corporates wanting flexible space to add to
existing space, start-ups looking for space and businesses switching to a
regional hub-and-spoke model.
sector is not out of the woods yet – and some companies will never emerge –
but, as The Office Group’s Charlie Green notes, opportunity knocks for the
stronger players. The office is dead. Long live the office!