Letchworth Heritage Foundation unveils financial support to help ‘most vulnerable’ tenants

Small Letchworth businesses will benefit from a three-month rent holiday. Picture: Danny Loo

Small Letchworth businesses will benefit from a three-month rent holiday. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation has revealed measures to support its most vulnerable commercial tenants 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 April, May and June.

A separate package of relief, extended over six months, will be offered to other tenants in need, including 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, said: “We know many of our tenants are worried about what will happen over the coming weeks and months.

“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, so they can 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 concerned tenants to get in touch via email at property@letchworth.com, or by calling 01462 530350. A member of the team will then make contact to discuss their circumstances in more detail.

Most Read

The team will also link tenants with other local organisations to help them access financial support from the government.

Mark added: “Our message to tenants 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.”

“I would also 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.

“Please visit our local butchers, grocers, bakers and local specialist stores and order a takeaway where you can.”