Landlords stiffen resolve against monthly rent demands

"At Christmas there was a degree of sympathy for the plight of retailers pleading they were having a hard time.

"But you have to remember that asset prices have plunged and when property companies refinance they are faced with much more expensive debt. Landlords are calling for retailers to understand their plight and the lack of sympathy they get from banks when refinancing or to requests for more flexibility in loan repayments."

His claims come after the British Property Federation called on retail leaders to work with landlords to beat the recession.
It has warned that the predicted 15% vacancy rate of retail premises poses "just as big a headache for the property industry as it does for retail".

Crookes said there were many examples of landlords and retailers coming to sensible accommodations. But he argues that there were strong reasons for landlords to expect tenants to stick to previously agreed quarterly contracts.

"If a company is going to go under anyway there is no point in agreeing to a worse position. Also if the tenant is a large profitable retail corporate why is it fair that a property company should subsidise another sector’s profits?"

Crookes warned retailers had to shoulder their responsibility.

"If retailers seek to extort painful concessions in tough times landlords may be forced to become more aggressive in their terms in better times," he said.

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