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 it. However, 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 remain. Community 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.
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
From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.
Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.