How can pub owners justify demanding rent when businesses were forcibly closed? The law must change to support tenants
The Covid-19 pandemic, and the subsequent lockdowns and restrictions on businesses, have highlighted some of the hidden inequalities in the UK. There have been those who, as much as they may have missed their freedoms, have faced no loss of income, while others have lost their jobs, businesses and livelihoods.
One of the most startling and troubling inequalities in business is between those who charge rent for business premises and those who pay rent. With the hospitality sector one of the worst hit by the pandemic, the gulf is particularly stark in the case of pubs, where small independent tenant businesses, often just individuals and families, have long had to deal with huge faceless property owners – including large pub-owning companies, hard-nosed commercial landlords and huge investment funds.