Property Week forces Prescott into U-turn

By Maxine Clayman

The government has performed a major U-turn on its plans to regulate
the property leasing market following a campaign by Property Week.

The publication’s ‘Flexible Friends”

campaign, which ran over
five weeks, drew attention to the issues involved in banning a
controversial lease clause, the upward-only rent review.

The office of the deputy Prime Minister, has since announced the government will not be legislating to ban the clause.

Week highlighted how the clause, which prevents rents on offices and
shops from going down, is in its view important for safeguarding
property as an investment and regeneration.

Its campaign was
backed by retailers including Prudential, Legal & General and
Aviva, despite opposition from some of the UK’s biggest stores and the
British Retail Consortium.

Property Week’s editor, Giles Barrie,
said: “The real argument when you look behind the headlines is that the
clause protects pensioners; it’s mostly their money tied up in property
investment from pension funds.”

He added: “By broadening out the
arguments of a traditionally conservative industry, it shows Labour
there are votes to be had by supporting property.

Upward-only rent reviews can have a positive impact.

“They aren’t as bad as they’re painted and there’s a strong argument for them to stay.”

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