Entrepreneur and former PizzaExpress chairman Luke Johnson has demanded wholesale change to the relationship between landlords and tenants.
Johnson made the call at the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) conference yesterday. He demanded an end to upwards-only rent reviews, a switch to monthly rents, and transparent service charges.
"The current landlord-tenant adversarial model is broken; there will be many more insolvencies unless landlords compromise. We need to avoid a spiral of decline," he said.
"If there isn't wholesale change in some of the golden rules of the property industry we can only expect relentless difficulties."
Johnson also warned that landlords were taking too big a slice of tenants' profits: "When I started in restaurants and retail you were able to make twice what the landlord was making and that seems to have reversed. I'm not sure that's right.
"If you want this to be a country where your children have jobs, we're going to have to change. We can't be a nation that makes our living by continuously selling assets to sovereign wealth funds.
"Landlords need to think more about experiential than transactional. They need to be braver in looking for tenants - bars, nightclubs, bingo, karaoke, ping pong, play centres and so on."
By Neil Gerrard
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