The Arch Company has announced that independent small businesses severely affected by COVID-19 will be eligible for a three month rent free period to assist them through the Coronavirus crisis.
Tenants in need were immediately offered three month rent deferrals last week to guard against an immediate liquidity crisis while the situation was assessed and the level of Government support was confirmed.
Following that initial support, The Arch Company’s Hardship Fund of £10 million pounds, which was announced on Wednesday, will be used to cover the cost of a three month rent free period for independent small businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure and overseas travel sectors, as well as others severely affected.
Adam Dakin, Managing Director of The Arch Company, said:
“Our tenants have been severely affected by the Coronavirus crisis, with many of them having to shut down completely for the next few weeks.
“The government has acted quickly and boldly to protect jobs, but there is still uncertainty about how small businesses that are not trading for the next few months are expected to cover other costs including rent. The uncertainty about what support will arrive and when, means that without our help now, many of our businesses simply won’t survive until that point.
“We have been closely assessing the situation, which is changing day by day, to ensure help is most effectively targeted to businesses that need it most. And we have listened to our tenants through hundreds of individual phone calls with them.
“The diverse mix of independent businesses that make up the arches have a special place in each local community, and it would be tragic to lose that because of the economic crisis created by Coronavirus. We want to help ensure that the dynamic SMEs that are the heart of the arches are still there at the end of the crisis.
“We continue to work with our tenants and other stakeholders as we keep this situation under review and assess what are the most effective next steps to support The Arch Company tenants.”
A series of measures are already in place to help tenants through the Coronavirus crisis:
- Three month rent deferrals
- Switching from quarterly to monthly rental payments for the next six months and to apply deposits to the payment of rent, at a tenant’s request
- Help in accessing government financial assistance through the Coronavirus Support Unit
- Rent review negotiations to be postponed for six months at a tenant’s request
- Tenants with leases expiring to be offered tenancies at will until the end of September
- Suspension of bailiff actions and evictions due to non-payment of rent for the next three months
- Deferrals considered on historic debts, including back rent
In addition, the government has announced a number of measures to help businesses, including a Job Retention Scheme, cash grants for small businesses, business rates relief, deferral of VAT, a Business Loan Interruption Scheme, and a Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
Tenants can access the support through the Coronavirus Support Unit.