Wednesday 25 March 2020 1:49 pm

Coronavirus: City of London Corporation defers rent payments for tenants

The City of London Corporation is deferring this quarter’s rental payments for commercial tenants worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Corporation, a major landlord in the Square Mile and beyond, is deferring rent payments for the March quarter for all retail, hospitality, small office, and serviced office tenants.

Supermarkets, banks, pharmacies and building societies will not be eligible for the rent relief.

Tenants will have 12 months from September to pay off the March quarter’s rent, and no late interest will be charged.

It is an escalation in measures taken by the Corporation, after last week it said it would allow rental payments for the quarter to be paid monthly.

The decision was taken by the Corporation’s Property Investment Board.

Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, said: “We recognise that many businesses based in the Square Mile are facing almost impossible trading conditions as a result of the current COVID-19 outbreak.

“It is only right that we stand by these tenants by offering much-needed rental relief.”

Retail, hospitality and leisure companies have been among the worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown.

Footfall in the capital plunged 63.3 per cent last week, as office workers were advised to stay home.

In shopping areas on the outskirts of London footfall was down 21.9 per cent.

The government moved last week to protect businesses through a £350bn package of Treasury-backed business loans and grants.

It has also vowed to pay 80 per cent of wages, up to £2,500 a month, for employees who have cannot work because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Business will also get a three-month “mortgage holiday” to help through this revenue-less period.