Queen’s property group offers to share tenants trading pain with rent deals

Regent street in London

The Crown Estate, dubbed the Queen’s property group because its income supports the royal family, has offered to share the pain of plunging footfall with its tenants.

As retailers and restaurateurs struggle, the Crown Estate, which owns swathes of London’s West End, has written to some tenants offering to link rents to turnover — meaning it will accept lower payments while they trade below usual levels.

In one letter the group asked for 9% of turnover, or a percentage of what it would normally receive in quarterly rents, on a scale starting at 0% for the current period and rising to 75% by next March.

Among those to benefit is Corbin & King, whose Soho restaurant Brasserie Zédel is a Crown Estate tenant. “The Crown has taken the lead in showing landlords how they should behave,” said Jeremy King, co-founder.

The Crown Estate, whose empire is worth £13.5bn, pays a share of its profits towards the sovereign grant, which funds the Queen and other royals. It said it was focusing its help on small and independent businesses.

“For a number of our restaurant operators who are facing particular challenges at this time, we have offered the option to move to more of a turnover-based structure for the coming period, on a case by case basis, as part of the safe and sustainable reopening of the West End,” said James Cooksey, director of the Crown Estate’s central London portfolio.