The Daily Telegraph has made an extraordinary attack on commercial landlords calling them a ‘protected species’ and criticising their requests for financial aid.

“As millions face bankruptcy, unemployment, eviction and worse, some landlords seem determined that they should remain an insulated class,” the piece published today says.

The newspaper, which is usually regarded as the friend of business, has made the attack via its columnist Benedict Spence, who heavily criticises the recent calls for help from the British Property Federation and British Retail Consortium.

Yesterday they asked for the government to fund up to 50% of rent and services charges owed by businesses while grants would be conditional on agreement by the landlord and tenant to account for the remaining 50% of the rent.

The Telegraph’s columnist has taken exception to this, saying that: “Perhaps it’s just the heat, but it’s enough to bring out one’s inner Bolshevik. Why should investors feel they can petition the public purse because their dividends won’t be as high this year? Most people would never dream of doing so brazen – why do landlords feel theirs is a special case?

“If tenants cannot pay, a landlord should look for new tenants who can. Clearly though, landlords have realised that, in the midst of this pandemic, there are few, if any, tenants who can afford their rates.

“What then? The answer should be clear. Reduce rents, accept the loss, or sell the property to someone prepared to take on the new financial reality.”

Read the column in full (requires subscription)


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