The Times, page Business
By Louisa Clarence-Smith
Only a third of rents from retailers due to be paid to British landlords for the second quarter last week were delivered, according to Knight Frank, the property consultancy. Landlords are having to pay high operating costs to keep properties safe and open where they contain essential stores.
Some analysts and landlords think the crisis will speed up a structural shift in how retailers pay rents that was already under way.
A minority of landlords have threatened legal action against tenants who do not pay rent. Intu Properties, the owner of the Trafford Centre in Manchester and Lakeside in Essex, has threatened some tenants with a winding-up petition.
Property firms that have the capacity to do so are trying to support tenants. However, they expect support from retailers in return, in recognition that they also need to cover their costs and meet their debt obligations. If they cannot negotiate, it will only store up trouble further down the chain, they say.
Adam Coffer, 41, managing director at EPF, a retail and leisure landlord with more than 30 tenants, said: “It’s really important that we realise landlords have no help here and there’s no sense that there will be any assistance. Some people still have an image of landlords as cigar-chomping men in pinstriped suits. There are bad apples in every barrel but most landlords are trying to help their tenants and we will get through it if we all maintain open dialogue and work together.”