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Latest research by various property consultants and experts indicate that rent levels are set to slow this year and lease terms on new deals will move out.

In the UK, the introduction of measures to restrict movement to try to slow the spread of coronavirus will cause significant disruption to activity in the short term and 2020 UK GDP forecasts have been slashed to -1.4% from +1% only a month ago. There is huge uncertainty around the duration and impact of current measures and a further worsening of the outbreak and financial stress could see GDP fall by 2.5% this year.

Research by Colliers International points to investors developers and landlords expecting that there will be little rental growth whilst lease term incentives will be moving out.

Gerald Eve notes: ‘Like all commercial property sectors, there is an expectation that industrial and logistics tenant defaults will increase through 2020 as cashflows are impacted, but this will also depend heavily on government intervention and the nature of industrial occupier activities.

“While all occupiers will experience short term impact, the scale and duration will vary greatly across industries.

“Many tenants are struggling with cost pressures and are already requesting monthly payment plans or rent payment holidays, and these are being looked at on a case-by-case basis to assess genuine need. Industrial and logistics occupiers have not benefitted from the recently announced relaxation of business rates liabilities and other tax credits, with the 12-month business rates suspension currently only for retail and leisure sectors.”

Property consultants and experts are lobbying for business rates cut across the board not just for retail and leisure.

However, once things return to ‘normal’ it is expected that rent levels and lease terms will bounce back.