The Restaurants Association of Ireland has called for urgent government action to deal with greed driven commercial landlords, who are continuing to charge their tenant businesses full rent rates during the current pandemic and economic crisis.
Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said: “We are calling on the government to issue a code of practice and introduce “Fast Track” arbitration service to help with a speedy resolution of disputes between restaurants / hospitality businesses and landlords. It’s obvious that greedy landlords are not playing their part in the pandemic which is causing huge distress for business owners especially restaurant owners.”
These high rents are placing hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs at risk across the island of Ireland. Immediate government action is needed, and landlords need to reduce their commercial rents in line with business turnover to support struggling restaurants and cafés.
According to Economist Jim Power’s Report “Restaurant Recovery Plan”, a scheme to reduce the burden of commercial rents is essential from the perspective of restaurant owners and landlords. The report states that the accommodation and food services sector has been seriously damaged by the COVID 19 crisis and failure to act now will have dire consequences for the economy.
Power Report further states that rents represent a significant fixed cost and should be included in a package of support measures covering all occupancy costs. The report recommends a 50% commercial rent grant during periods when restaurant turnover is down 50-80%. The hospitality sector did not receive any commercial rent grants or support in the recently announced July Stimulus Package.
Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, added: “The next big battle for restaurants and cafés across the country is with greed driven commercial landlords who haven’t reduced rent for struggling business owners in line with turnover. Some commercial landlords seem to be oblivious to fact that Ireland is in an economic crisis. We are demanding urgent action from the government. Businesses are struggling, and some cannot hold on much longer. These businesses are the mainstay of our communities, and people’s livelihoods. Why should they be driven out of business while commercial landlords continue to flourish and collect their full rents? All we are asking is that landlords take into consideration the loss of turnover experienced by many businesses over the past few months and adjust the rents accordingly.”
Economist Jim Power warned Government as early as April that the costs of not supporting the restaurant sector would be significant. If 100,000 workers were to remain unemployed for a full year it would cost the exchequer:
- Around €2 billion in increased social protection expenditure.
- €500 million in lost payroll taxes.
- €240 million in lost VAT receipts.
- and local authorities around €52 million in lost commercial rates.