The Arch Company (the “Company”), the UK’s largest small business landlord, has today published its Tenants’ Charter (the “Charter”).
In February 2019, the Company acquired the leasehold for Network Rail’s commercial estate business of around 5,200 properties across the UK, mostly refurbished railway arches that are home to 4,000 diverse businesses. It promised to draw up a Charter to highlight its commitments to its new tenants and respond to their concerns.
The Charter is the product of months of constructive dialogue with key stakeholders including the Federation of Small Businesses, Guardians of the Arches and most importantly, the Company’s tenants. Over the past several months, the Company has surveyed tenants and held focus groups across the country to hear from as many tenants as possible because it is the diversity of tenants’ businesses that makes the Arches what they are. The Company has received constructive input from hundreds of tenants, which has informed the Charter released today.
The Charter outlines the Company’s long-term commitment to a ‘tenants first’ approach, engaging with all tenants and communities in an open and honest manner and making the arches better places to work, build and run businesses.
Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:
“FSB has appreciated working with The Arch Company since it took over responsibility for the arches and became the UK’s largest small business landlord.
“Today’s Tenants’ Charter includes important commitments on areas we have been keen to see – improved communications and responsiveness through the 24-7 contact centre and dedicated property manager, affordability and clarity at the heart of proposed rent reviews, and bringing potential new workspaces for business incubators. This is welcome at a time when financial pressure is mounting on small businesses across the UK.”
Adam Dakin, Director of The Arch Company, said:
“Our Tenants’ Charter is our public commitment to engage with all of our tenants and communities in an open and responsive manner. It sets out how we will address our tenants’ priorities in practice, make the arches better places to build, grow and run businesses and above all preserve the diverse and independent mix of businesses that make the arches so unique.
“The Charter is the product of many months of constructive dialogue with key stakeholders including the Federation of Small Businesses, Guardians of the Arches and most importantly, our tenants. We are particularly grateful to members of Guardians of the Arches, led by Leni Jones, for taking the time to step away from the day-to-day running of their businesses to engage with us. Our meetings and conversations over the past six months have been open and constructive and their feedback has been invaluable in shaping the Charter we are releasing today.”
Today, the Company is sharing its commitments to tenants and responding to their feedback. The Charter is based upon four principles.
- Being an accessible and responsible landlord
- Providing environments that help arch business thrive
- Working in partnership with tenants – in particular understanding the affordability concerns of some of our smaller, long-term tenants and not-for-profits and working with them to agree suitable rent profiles
- Creating positive social and economic impact
The full Charter is available to read here:
Tenants’ Charter letter
The Arch Company Tenants Charter
The Company has already responded to the feedback it has received from tenants and is making important investments to improve the estate, its processes and ultimately support tenants.
- More than 360 arches are back up and running or being actively marketed and more than 240 additional arches are being brought back into use. They will house new tenants, charities, and business start-ups, helping to stimulate local economic activity.
- The Company is actively recruiting 50 people across the business to be able to better support its tenants.
- A new 24/7 call centre has been set up.
- Following an inspection of the estate in the first six weeks the Company instructed immediate works, to address specific issues, such as cleaning common areas, removing graffiti, repairing boundary fencing and cutting back vegetation.