A draft version of the government's code of practice for landlord and commercial tenant negotiations has been described as "toothless" and "a waste of time".
The voluntary code says it intends to "balance the interests of landlords and tenants reasonably and responsibly, through as swift and efficient means as possible".
The draft document states "we support protection for otherwise healthy businesses unable to meet their financial obligations due to the impact of Covid-19" and says the payment burden should not be shouldered by any one party.
It calls for parties to act "reasonably and responsibly", while laying out ideals for their approach, but does not give firm guidelines or additional protections for tenants.
Jonathan Downey, who has led the campaign for a National Time Out agreement to offer payment respite to both tenants and landlords, told The Caterer: "It's a waste of time. It's incredibly disappointing and of absolutely no value to those tenants that need the support from government."
He said the document would be seen as a "shark's charter" giving landlords "a licence to do whatever they want", just weeks before the next quarter's rent is due.
Downey has shared the draft document.