UK government wants to force landlords to let empty units - news report
Empty stores could be a thing of the past under a radical plan to revitalise UK high streets.
Under a proposed new government plan landlords will be forced to let out retail units that have been vacant for longer than six months, the Daily Mail reports.
Local authorities will be able to force landlords to rent out commercial property on high streets through a Compulsory Rental Auction, allowing small businesses and community groups to take over shuttered properties.
After a short grace period for landlords to fill the space, local authorities will be able to instigate an auction, inviting bids from interested parties.
The new powers will be introduced as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which will be announced in the Queen’s Speech next month.
An already-blighted high street hit by the growth of online shopping was made worse by the pandemic, accelerating the move to e-tail with fashion retailers among the hardest hit.
Across the country, one in seven stores remain empty, according to latest figures from the British Retail Consortium. The north-east of England has the highest vacancy rate, with one in five closed.
A government source told the newspaper: “The government’s mission to level up will breathe new life into these great towns and end the scourge of boarded-up shops sucking the soul out of once-bustling high streets.”
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