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Retailers quids in as rents hit rock bottom

8 November 2011

Stories are hitting the newspapers this week that stores on some depressed high streets are being let for £1 rent so that landlords can avoid paying business rates on vacant units. This follows the British Retail Consortium’s challenge to the Chancellor, George Osborne, to re-think the proposed increase in 2012’s uniform business rates in line with September’s RPI figure which could mean an increase of 5.6% .

Mary Portas’ High Street Review is set to be published next month, where business rates may well be discussed. As rates increases are not set to kick in until April 2012, it is unlikely we have heard the last on this. If the government doesn’t step in, we may see an increase in these £1 rent lettings with a possibility that tenants in depressed areas ask their landlords for reductions in rent to cope with the increase with the alternative being a vacant unit.

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