Jeremy Joseph, owner of famous LGBT club night G.A.Y and London nightclub Heaven, says his venues may struggle to reopen after the Covid-19 crisis without rent breaks.
Joseph has gone public with his frustrations towards landlords who are not accepting rent breaks, but only deferring payments until later in the year.
He says G.A.Y’s quarterly rent for four venues is £407,000. All four landlords at his venues have refused his offer to cover only their essential costs, and instead have demanded rent be deferred until June. This means G.A.Y will owe £814,000 by June – assuming venues can even reopen by then.
Airing his frustrations, Joseph said in a public post: “Other business have asked for a rent-free period – I haven’t. I will pay [landlords] an amount that covers their costs but nothing that is profit. No-one should be making a profit during coronavirus. All four landlords have said NO.
“So Boris Johnson, I ask you: how the fuck do you expect me to re-open?
“The biggest debt for businesses is rent. So when are you going to force landlords and their lenders to protect businesses? We don’t want loans – we want either rent free or a discount. A deal that is fair.”
“We must act NOW and stop landlords and lenders from profiting during coronavirus. I’m not speaking just for G.A.Y but for every business in the country. Enough is enough.”
Joseph is supported by the Night Time Industries Association in his plea to government. NTIA CEO Michael Kill added: “The government needs to step in, not to prolong rent debt, as following this trading gap we will still be working from ground zero – Loans are not the answer!”
Photo by Chris Jepsen