Over 88% of nightclubs owe more than two-quarters' worth of rent to landlords, with anxiety growing over an approaching ‘cliff edge' when the forfeiture moratorium comes to an end in March and tenants will no longer be protected from eviction.
According to the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA), rent is the second biggest cost for businesses within the sector, equating to an estimated 8%-10% of annual turnover. The group said there is real concern that the government has "turned its back" on businesses, leaving landlords who have not reached agreements with commercial tenants to act over non-payment of rent.
Michael Kill, chief executive of the NTIA, said: "Over 88% of nightclub businesses are over two quarters of rent in arrears, and we are poised for a windfall of landlords taking action at the end of March when the forfeiture moratoria comes to end. Reclaiming property and utilising the current proposed changes in planning reform under permitted development rights to allow for the demolition and rebuilding of 'vacant and redundant' light industrial buildings will culminate in us losing many of our much-loved cultural spaces and social environments to housing.
"This has brought about a call from the sector for stakeholders to share the burden of backdated rent debt, [with] government, lenders, landlords and tenants taking an equal share of the shortfall. At this point, we may be able to move forward, and focus on managing the relationships between landlords and tenants, and deliver reasonable commercial terms for the future."
This month it has emerged that several hospitality businesses around Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus are facing a court claim from property owner Criterion Capital over rent, including Caffè Concerto.