Most shops able to get rent reduced
FINDINGS OF RETAIL SURVEY
A SURVEY showing that only 19% of shop tenants in Wexford were refused rent reductions by landlords is being used as an argument against pending Government legislation banning upwards only rent reviews.
The survey of Wexford town's 136 retail properties, was carried out by estate agents CB Ellis and sponsored by what is described as 'a group of interested parties' including WK Nowlan Asset Managers; WMK Solicitors; Treasury Holdings and Tom Dunne of Dublin Institute of Technology.
It showed that the majority of traders in Wexford who sought cuts in rents were successful in getting them.
Only 2% of all the units surveyed, sought and were refused rent decreases by their landlords. However when the 45% of shops that are owner-occupied along with vacant units and recently let premises were excluded from the findings, the number refused reductions accounted for 19% of the total.
Of those which were granted concessions, over half had their rent reduced by up to 20% with the remainder having their rents reduced by more than 20%.
The research showed that 14% of Wexford traders did not seek a decrease in rents, which researchers suggest shows that rents in provincial towns like Wexford did not go up as much during the boom years as people might think.
The study also revealed that 26% of Main Street shops were let over the last two-year period. ' This is interesting as it suggests that contrary to public opinion, new retailers are continuing to enter the market,' said Marie Hunt, Director of Research at CB Richard Ellis.
The proposed Government legislation banning upwards only rent reviews in all existing business leases, will not affect tenants who signed leases in the past two years and who are already paying open market rents.
Ms. Hunt said there was a perception that landlords are refusing to engage with tenants who are in genuine distress and unable to make rent commitments but the reality was somewhat different.
She said the survey was carried out to challenge some of the misinformation around the issue and bring some facts into the debate.
Wexford was chosen as a typical county town and the results may or may not be representative of the national situation.