INSIGHTS 🔎 - A view from...
Insights - A view from Associate Partner Oli Williams
"As a property manager responsible for strategic and day to day issues for a number of our key instructions, I have been at the forefront of tenant engagement. The fallout from the effects of COVID-19 on the March quarter rent collection has started to subside, with agreements being reached between landlord and tenants. Although some of our landlord clients have adopted a standard approach for requests on rent concessions, we are finding that the majority of tenant requests are being dealt with on a case by case basis, considering each situation on its merits before providing a recommendation to our clients and working through the documentation.
This has meant having a lot of conversations with tenants which is a good thing. The government restrictions on landlord recovery such as forfeiture and statutory demands have been set up to protect tenants, but the majority of discussions I have been involved with are open and honest conversations about sharing the burden, and working to an acceptable middle ground where both parties can take something positive from the arrangement.
The situation highlights the importance of having a hands-on approach to property management and understanding the individual occupiers and their business. This will continue to be important as we work towards a gradual lifting of the government's restrictions and adapt a new socially distanced normal. I believe this new normal will be the start of a revised lease and rent structure, particularly in the retail and leisure sector where rent is likely to be more turnover based. There will be a greater need for landlords and tenants to work closely together, which I see as a positive step forward.
I have been working closely with our FM partners Envirotech to ensure that our managed properties remain compliant from a statutory and insurance perspective, whilst working on a ready to occupy strategy in anticipation of a phased return from the current restrictions.
On a property by property basis we have analysed services and taken all reasonable steps to reduce costs where we can. At the same time as considering risk management of the welfare of our employees and supply partners, as well as the occupiers who continue to work whilst these restrictions are in place."