The UK hospitality
sector could be facing a “bloodbath” unless urgent action is taken to support
struggling businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic, advisers and
operators have warned.
figures in the sector are urging the government to offer more support to
businesses hit hard by the the nationwide lockdown.
of London venue Milk & Honey and Street Feast founder Jonathan Downey
this week called on the government to introduce a nine-month rent-free period
for retail, hospitality and leisure operators across the country,
with rent payments continuing as normal from January 2021.
up for the lost income, Downey said leases should be extended by nine months.
He added that landlords should be allowed to push back loan repayments to
mitigate income loss where debt was “secured on premises benefiting from the
told Property Week he
hoped to present to the government a joint approach between landlords and
starting to gain momentum and landlords are gradually getting on board,” he
said. “Some landlords need to realise years of empty premises will be far worse
than nine months of postponed rent. Half of landlords’ tenants will be
gone by the end of this year if something like this doesn’t happen.”
chef Yotam Ottolenghi joined the call for a “national time-out” on rent
payments, saying government should allow restaurants to withhold rent until the
end of the year and compensate landlords accordingly.
advisers also called for more help for the hospitality sector this week.
Russell, head of lease advisory at The Lorenz Consultancy, said: “If something
is not done or there isn’t a change in the moratorium, there could be a
bloodbath out there, with a number of restaurants closing and never reopening.
There will be casualties whatever happens, but the number of casualties is
dependent upon how the relationship with the landlord and tenant goes.”
Kirton, head of leisure agency at Colliers International, added: “It’s unclear
how long the ban on non-essential travel and thus closures will last, but
landlords should be mindful of maintaining longer-term relationships with
tenants after Covid-19. Landlords would be in a far worse position if they got
back possession of empty units and had to remarket in the current climate.”
came after a number of gyms and leisure centres said they faced being evicted
from their premises because landlords were using a legal loophole to penalise
them for non-rent payments – putting 2,800 gyms at risk of permanent closure.
Coronavirus Act 2020 does not prevent landlords from pursuing commercial rent
arrears recovery, debt claims, statutory demands or winding-up proceedings –
any of which could be “lethal” to businesses generating no income, gym
Active, which represents fitness companies including David Lloyd Leisure and
PureGym, said the government must reduce pressure on landlords by introducing
financial support for a rent holiday, preventing them from resorting to legal