Editor: It is easy to criticise landlords for not showing empathy to tenants through the pandemic – while some could not, some could.

In the latter part of Covid negotiations – and admittedly our focus is on ‘big-ticket’ negotiations – landlords had come to the fore, even before the threat of the extended moratorium to March 2022 and arbitration in the event that landlords do not ‘share the pain’ with their tenants.

Some landlords should have given rent-free periods instead of deferred rents. They played too much ‘hardball’ with tenants. The definition of a fair agreement is one where both parties walk away moderately contented.

A catalyst for landlords and tenants to help each other should be not only the tenant’s weakness, but whether the landlord would be better off without them. In the uncertain market ahead, keeping relationships together between tenants, landlords and bankers may avoid a property market collapse.

Our corporate recovery work has been 80% tenant and 20% landlord based, suggesting a bias towards tenants, but frankly we are not. We have looked to resolve negotiations between landlords, their bankers and tenants in a fair way to keep tripartite relationships together, and the fewer properties that become empty when the moratorium ends in April 2022, the better for all concerned.

Many landlords have been exemplary in their dealings with tenants and many tenants have done their best to pay rent. There are also lots of bad tenants who used the moratorium without needing to, and they have muddied the water for those who really needed help.

Let’s hope that in the next few months we see empathy from both parties and deals can be done on a handshake, instead of flooding the forthcoming arbitration process – the quicker it gets put into writing, the better.

A balanced market is a good market and most commercial deals are done with landlords being represented by advisers, and tenants by theirs. There is always a middle range of a fair settlement where both parties, if they ignore their respective negotiating positions, know what is right.

What founder Peter Bell says about needing a Commercial Tenants Association is not new – I started in tenant rep when I formed Baker Lorenz in 1972 – and long may it live on.

Anthony Lorenz, managing director, The Lorenz Consultancy