With immediate effect, Network Rail is cancelling all first quarter (25th March – 23rd June 2020) rent payments due from tenants in their commercial estate portfolio, providing significant relief for small businesses who are worried about the impact of the virus on their footfall. Further, Network Rail will cancel all base rent payments for retailers in their managed stations for the first quarter of the new financial year (April-June 2020), around 1,000 small and medium business tenants will benefit from the removal of base rent payments for an entire quarter.

In London, all small and medium enterprises on TfL property will get 100 per cent relief from their rent for the next three months. All tenants in London Underground stations that have had to be closed to ensure a safe and reliable service for London’s critical workers will also be given 100 per cent rent relief and TfL’s property managers will be contacting them to discuss individual circumstances on a case by case basis as required.

TfL’s property managers will also be in contact with all other larger businesses on its estate to review their needs to see what additional support they may require. This will be kept under constant review to ensure that if additional support is required it can be provided quickly. TfL is also suspending any ongoing negotiations on rent reviews and lease renewals and will give existing tenants longer to pay any rent outstanding.

David Biggs, managing director for Network Rail Property, said: ‘We work in partnership with retailers and tenants to provide positive experiences for passengers and communities. In challenging times, it is important we step up to the plate and show our partners they are valued, and we are ready and willing to help. That is why we have taken this decisive action.

‘We also understand more support may be required as this situation develops. We will continue to liaise with central Government and will keep speaking with our retailers and tenants about how we can assist further.’

London’s Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown MVO, said: ‘We are doing everything we can to ensure that businesses across our estate are supported during this extremely difficult time. The majority of these businesses are small and medium enterprises, who will be particularly hit by the drop in footfall across London – my team and I will continue to review what support we are providing. If any of them need further support, please do get in contact with us.’

Michael Lassman, the Federation of Small Business’s London Regional Chair, said: ‘We applaud the decision by TfL to reduce the rents for small businesses for the next three months.  These are decisions that need to be made at this time and we call on all landlords across the capital who house small businesses to follow suit as cash flow as this time is critical.’