Response – Gyms facing legal action over unpaid rents

In light of today’s news about gyms facing legal action over unpaid rents, Ross Kirton, Head of Leisure Agency at Colliers International commented:

“It is unhelpful that a number of landlords are taking a heavy handed approach to collecting March quarters rent.

“It’s unclear how long the ban on non-essential travel and thus closures will last but landlords should be mindful of maintaining longer-term relationships with tenants after COVID-19. Landlords would be in a far worse position if they got back possession of empty units and had to remarket in the current climate.

“I believe a more pragmatic approach would be to look at individual cases and see whether there is scope for a re-gear of a lease, such as removing a forthcoming break clause or creating a reversionary lease in exchange for a rent free period.

“Similarly, where rent invoices remain outstanding, landlords should consider against the harsh measures being adopted by some and instead, they could seek to agree an opportunity for an open discussion with their tenants about outstanding rent following the pandemic. This will hopefully result in better long-term relationships for all parties concerned.”