Landlords are insisting that retailers must pay rents quarterly rather than allowing them to switch to monthly, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The organisation surveyed retailers and found that many commercial landlords are failing to offer retail tenants flexibility in terms of their rental payments.

Some 12 per cent of retail property leases are on monthly terms, but almost 90 per cent of those surveyed who allowed their tenants to pay on this basis said the agreement was penalised by higher charges.

BRC has campaigned for three years for monthly rents to become the norm.

Quarterly rental terms are "wrong in principle", it claimed.

Director general of the consortium Stephen Robertson said: "Demanding to be paid three months in advance belongs to a bygone era when horseback was the quickest form of communication."

It is shameful that one in eight leases are on monthly terms, he added, and argued that it should be offered by landlords to anybody who asks for those terms.

The recession has meant that the market has gone through a tough year and resulted in vacant shops, according to Mr Robertson.

In June the Retail Think Tank predicted that one in seven UK shops –some 135,000 units –would be vacant by Christmas.

Written by Mark GarnerADNFCR-2002-ID-19526081-ADNFCR

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