Monday 12 October 2020 11:08 am

London retail landlords struggle to collect rent from tenants

London commercial property landlords are struggling to collect rent from beleaguered retail tenants amid a slump in footfall during the coronavirus pandemic.

Great Portland Estates announced this morning that it collected just 21 per cent of the retail, hospitality and leisure rent it was owed in the quarter ended 30 September.

However total rent paid during the quarter reached 73 per cent, as London’s office property sector fared better than the high street.

Chief executive Toby Courtauld said: “The trajectory of Covid-19 continues to dominate the economic backdrop and disrupt the activities of many businesses across London. 

“Whilst rental collection and occupancy rates have improved across the portfolio since March, many sectors remain challenged. 

“We continue to engage with those occupiers unable to meet their rental obligations, offering assistance on a case by case basis to support them through this difficult period. 

“Whilst we expect the near term outlook to remain unpredictable, we remain firm believers in the long term appeal of well-designed and located offices and of London’s role as a dominant global city.”

London-based development firm Helical said it had mainly granted rent holidays to its food and drink tenants during the coronavirus crisis so far. 

For the March quarter it has collected 94.7 per cent of rent, and 91.3 per cent for the June quarter. 

The firm has received 84 per cent of the payments due for the three months ended 30 September, which it expects to rise to more than 90 per cent by December. 

Meanwhile FTSE-250 listed real estate investment trust (REIT) Londonmetric said it had collected 83 per cent of retail park rent.

The REIT, which is focussed on logistics assets, had received 100 per cent of its distribution rent, with long income at 92 per cent and offices at 97 per cent.