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What role do landlords play in the high street of the future? 

Published: 3rd December 2020
Area: Coronavirus
What role do landlords play in the high street of the future? 

The UK’s high streets have undeniably felt the sting of COVID-19, with restrictions leading to reduced footfall and widespread closures. 

Mounting pressures from reduced profits and the growth of e-commerce have made people question whether it’s time to write off the local high street as we know itHowever, this doesn’t have to be the case, with the improvement of landlord-tenant relationships providing a light at the end of the tunnel for the future of the high street.   

Time to work together 

Local communities have come together in support of their high streets, but challenges still remainCommunity support alone is not enough to keep this staple of British culture afloat, but with the cooperation of landlords, it can be protected.  

By showing flexibility to struggling businesses, landlords can ease the pressure on retailers and ensure they maintain some form of continuous cash flow. The alternative of finding new tenants is certainly something to try and avoid during these difficult times. 

Embracing agility 

There are a number of options for landlords to help struggling retailers, including:  

  • Rent holidays, where the tenant and landlord agree on pausing payments temporarily 
  • Implementing turnover-based rent agreements, where rent is determined by current market conditions and the financial performance of the tenant 
  • Restructuring leases to make them more tenant friendly 

Showing flexibility and communicating clearly and openly with tenants will go a long way towards building a stronger and longer lasting relationship between retailers and landlords 

A new type of high street? 

Major retailers, such as John Lewis, have shown an interest in restructuring the high street, taking a residential approach rather than commercial.  

However, it is unlikely that this form of change will take off, with local high streets not owning the entirety of their trading space.  

Instead, landlords could consider adapting empty units into workspaces – or even try to create new relationships with larger chains seeking to make their mark in a more “local” manner. 

One thing is guaranteed: that the high street will endure, but the form it takes in future is down to the choices that landlords make now. 

We’re here to help 

For guidance around the solutions available if you’re experiencing difficulties, a member of our commercial development team can help - contact Julian Joseph for advice and support. 

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