Harpenden beauty salon faces uncertainty as rent arrears mount

Rebecca Jade Beauty in Harpenden High Street is fighting for rent concessions after a difficult few

Rebecca Jade Beauty in Harpenden High Street is fighting for rent concessions after a difficult few months amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Rebecca Cousins - Credit: Archant

A Harpenden beauty salon is facing uncertainty as its landlord is demanding months’ worth of rent arrears to be paid “immediately”, despite having been one of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Rebecca Jade Beauty and Aesthetics in High Street was forced to close its doors on March 20 amid the outbreak of COVID-19.

Shortly after, the government announced many schemes to protect businesses from closure – including a furlough scheme to save workers’ jobs, and a ban on evictions for commercial tenants unable to pay rent until the end of September.

While there is no legal obligation for landlords to grant concessions, many have done so in order to help their tenants through this unprecedented hardship.

Some concessions include tenants being able to pay on a monthly basis rather than quarterly, or agreeing to rent holidays.

Rebecca Jade Beauty managing director, Rebecca Cousins, told the Herts Ad: “They are demanding full rental payments from the start of lockdown, which we simply cannot afford if we are to remain viable.

“The rent on Harpenden High Street is very high and we really need additional support to continue running what was a viable business prior to the pandemic.”

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Rebecca rents two units side by side in the High Street, one of which was only able to open on Saturday last week due to the continued restrictions on close contact facial treatments.

“Times are financially very challenging for us,” she continued. “Paying the rent for the period when we were forced closed is very difficult.”

A spokeswoman for landlord Columbia Threadneedle said: “We are acutely aware of the challenges facing businesses at this time and are engaging with our tenant to seek a measured outcome for all parties.”

The government published a Code of Practice for commercial property relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic on June 19, which is recommended for to be used for landlords and renters.

It states: “It is intended to reinforce and promote good practice amongst landlord and tenant relationships as they deal with income shocks caused by the pandemic. This is a voluntary code and does not change the underlying legal relationship or lease contracts between landlord and tenant and any guarantor.”