Foundation announces tenant support measures in response to Covid-19

Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation has announced measures to support its most vulnerable commercial tenants in the town affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Small businesses that operate shops, cafés , bars, restaurants, hairdressers, beauty salons, travel agents and gyms are among those which will benefit from a rent-free period for the months of April, May and June 2020.

A separate package of relief extending over six months will be offered to other tenants in need, which will include deferring a proportion of rent and releasing a percentage of deposits.  There will also be a reduction in service charges by suspending sinking fund contributions. 

The Foundation’s Executive Director of Property, Mark Coles, commented: “We know many of our tenants are worried about what will happen over the coming weeks and months. Our focus and resources will be on helping the most vulnerable businesses as it is clear that the financial assistance promised by the government will take several weeks to come through. 

“We took the difficult decision earlier this week to temporarily close our venues and services, which are funded by our rental income, and we are determined to operate in such a way that we will be able to support the most vulnerable in the town, both businesses and residents and to support them to be able to bounce back when this crisis is over.  We hope our support will give them breathing space while funding promised by central government becomes available.”

The Foundation is urging worried tenants to contact them via email (property@letchworth.com) outlining their circumstances or by calling 01462 530350.  A member of the team will then make contact to discuss their circumstances in more detail. The team will also link tenants with HertfordshireLEP, Letchworth BID, North Hertfordshire District Council, Citizens Advice North Herts and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, to ensure tenants receive the guidance needed to access financial support from the government.

Mark continued: “Our message to tenants who are concerned about their finances is to talk to their bank and insurers in the first instance and then contact our team to discuss their specific circumstances.  We have more than 2,000 rent-paying tenants across Letchworth in residential properties, offices, retail units, industrial units and various forms of landholdings, so please be patient as we process enquiries.”

He concluded: “I would urge the community to use and support our brilliant local businesses during this crisis. They are the beating heart of our Garden City and are all showing remarkable tenacity and an incredible ability to change their offer under enormous strain.  So please visit our local butchers, grocers, bakers and local specialist stores and order a takeaway where you can.”

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