Do my eyes deceive me? Is that light I spy at the end of the tunnel? This week, there was cause for cautious optimism on several fronts.
The first bit of good news is that more landlords have stepped up to the plate and joined the growing list of those offering their tenants the option to switch to turnover-based rents to help them through the current crisis. This is no empty gesture. With the online versus bricks-and-mortar dynamic shifting all the time, it is not getting any easier to calculate what turnover is, as Argent’s David Partridge points out, and let’s not kid ourselves: landlords will be sharing the pain rather than any gain with tenants for the foreseeable.
But less rent is better than no rent, which is what they will get if tenants go under. Let’s hope the tenants see it that way as well and, in the spirit of the Code of Practice, take the landlords up on their offer – rather than following the dubious lead of those who could and should pay rent but won’t.
Another group of landlords that have taken matters into their own hands are those with Travelodge as a tenant. Faced with a Hobson’s choice of taking or leaving the terms of the hotel operator’s CVA, Travelodge Owners Action Group founder Viv Watts has buddied up with Accor to launch AGO Hotels, a ‘landlord-friendly’ platform offering landlords a real choice: stick with Travelodge or twist to the ibis budget brand under a new leasing model. I suspect it will have quite a few takers.
With more people starting to book summer breaks, things could finally be looking up for the hotel sector. Green shoots of recovery can also be seen in the purpose-built student accommodation lending sector after a near-shutdown in the real estate debt market and the flexible workspace sector appears to be bouncing back as well. There has reportedly been a significant increase in enquiries and requirements in recent weeks, driven by three factors: corporates wanting flexible space to add to existing space, start-ups looking for space and businesses switching to a regional hub-and-spoke model.
The sector is not out of the woods yet – and some companies will never emerge – but, as The Office Group’s Charlie Green notes, opportunity knocks for the stronger players. The office is dead. Long live the office!
Events are back
Boris Johnson’s announcement last week that conferences and exhibitions will be permitted in England from 1 October was met with a ripple of excitement at Property Week Towers – and a huge sigh of relief, as the first event scheduled for post lockdown is Workspace Conference + Showcase, which takes place on 2 October.
This will kick off a stellar programme of events, which I am excited to say will all be hybrid, so you can attend in person or online, whatever works best for you. We’ve invested in brand new digital platforms to bring you a truly immersive and interactive experience across all our events.
So, as well as 2 October, save the following dates:
- Industrial & Logistics (3-4 November)
- RESI Convention (10-11 November)
- Property Awards (19 November)
- RESI Awards (2 December)
- Student Accommodation (9 December)