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No rent holiday for council's commercial tenants

Created on 28/10/2020 @ 22:06
Giving tenants of Powys County Council’s business units a rent holiday would ease the financial pressure on them, according to a councillor.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat/Green group on the council, Cllr James Gibson-Watt has brought up the issue as other local authorities in Wales are giving tenants rent holidays.

But Powys County Council have decided against this as it would not be fair on the private sector landlords.

Cllr Gibson-Watt said: “Would the Cabinet now consider providing rent holidays to ease the financial pressure on its business tenants?”

Portfolio holder for Education and Property, Cllr Phyl Davies, said: “The council has not offered rent holidays for its tenants during the coronavirus
pandemic, although I am aware that other authorities in Wales have done so.”

Cllr Davies said that PCC had asked other councils and the Welsh Government how were they dealing with commercial tenants thought the pandemic.

He explained that eight other councils and the Welsh Government were using a rental deferment package which needed full repayment in the same financial year.

He said that PCC had chosen this model rather than giving tenants a rent free period.

Cllr Davies said: “Up to three months rental deferment rather than a rent holiday has been available.”

Originally this would have been up to the end of June with the repayment expected by March 31, 2021.

Cllr Davies said that this had been advertised but at the time no tenants applied for deferment.

Cllr Davies added: “A full rent holiday would have meant that we would have
lost one quarter of our income from our commercial estate.

“It was felt such a decision would also potentially be inequitable to private sector tenants whose landlords could not afford to grant them such favourable waivers of lease obligations.”

The current protection – has now been extended from June  30 to December 31.

Cllr Davies said that it could be extended again in 2021.

Cllr Davies said: “The council may need to work out appropriate repayment plans with tenants who have struggled to meet their liabilities during the pandemic, and these plans may now extend into the next financial year.

“We will of course keep a close watch on this very important issue and review as necessarily should the need arise.”

PCC has a wide range of business and industrial premises throughout Powys, from 250 square foot starter workshops to large scale industrial units.



By Elgan Hearn, Local democracy Reporting Service