We offer our tenants ongoing customer support, from fitting out your property to advice on maintenance. We  want to provide you with the guidance and information you need to be able to focus on what is important to you - your business and your customers.


COVID-19 update to TfL commercial tenants (30 March 2020)

We appreciate that this is an uncertain time and will be causing worry for you, your staff and your businesses. 

We know that our customers across our estate are being impacted by the current situation.

As businesses employing thousands of staff and serving millions of customers, we have a shared responsibility for the safety, wellbeing and prosperity of London.

We need to be in regular contact with our staff, our customers and with each other.

We want to assure you that we are ready to help support you, your businesses and London's economy. We will provide a consistent response, proportionate to the situation as it develops and the impact on your business. 

We are focused on helping you through this challenging period, so we can continue to work together in the future to support our local communities and economies.

Please contact your property manager to discuss your specific business circumstances. If you do not know who your property manager is, please contact PMQueries@tfl.gov.uk and a member of team will respond to you as soon as possible.

We know you will have lots of questions that you would like to be answered as quickly as possible. We've put together a list of frequently asked question and answers.


Rent charges and support for your business

Q: I am a small business that is worried about the future. Will small businesses be able to have a discount on their rent?                                                                              

A:Small businesses will automatically receive a 100 per cent rebate on their rent for the next three months (25 March to 23 June 2020).

The rebate will be credited to the customer's account. Our billing and accounting supplier, BNP Paribas Real Estate (BNPPRE) will issue all customers with an updated Statement of Account so that customers are clear on their position. 

Q: I have a shop in a station that has now closed. Will businesses in stations that close have to pay rent?

A:Businesses in stations that have been confirmed as closed for the foreseeable future to ensure that we can maintain essential travel services will receive a 100 per cent rebate on their rent for the next three months (25 March to 23 June 2020).

The rebate will be credited to the customer's account. Our billing and accounting supplier, BNP Paribas Real Estate (BNPPRE) will issue all customers with an updated Statement of Account so that customers are clear on their position. 

Q: Are discounts available for other tenants?

A: All other customer groups are to be charged rent as normal.  

We know that different tenants will have different circumstances and if specific businesses are suffering hardship because of the current situation they are asked to contact their property manager as soon as possible. 

We will be talking with customers including larger businesses to make sure we can respond to their specific business circumstances.

Q: I am a small business but you have classed me as a large business

A: Please contact your property manager as soon as possible to discuss you business circumstances. 

Q:How can I discuss my specific circumstances or get updates?

A: We will be reaching out to all our customers regularly. We ask that customers also keep in touch with their property manager.

We want to check how you are, understand how your business is faring and how we might be able to help you through this difficult period.

Q: I pay turnover rent, do I have to pay relating to a period ending March 2020 or earlier?   

A: Turnover payments relating to a period ending 31 March 2020 or earlier will remain payable.

If you require additional support, please discuss options with your property manager and we will discuss how best we can help you and your business.

Q: Will small businesses subject to a turnover top up receive the rent concession?  

A: Yes.

We will be applying the 100 per cent rebate to the base rent payable by small businesses.

Q: What happens if the Government announces further measures that impact my business?

A: We will be constantly reviewing what support we give to our customers as the situation develops. We will act accordingly to protect our customers. We will update our customers as soon as our position changes.

If you have any specific business circumstances that you would like support for, please contact your property manager.

Q: I don't know who my property manager is. How do I find out?

A: Please email PMQueries@tfl.gov.uk and a member of the team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Q: What additional support is available for my business? 

A: We will continue to monitor the situation as the events unfold and respond as needed. 

If your business is struggling or you have had to cease trading temporarily, please speak to your property manager. 

We do not want to see businesses on our estate fail as a direct result of current events and we will adapt to help you where we are able.  

Q: Who can I contact for other advice?

A: The Government has announced unprecedented measures to help small businesses.

There are a range of organisations who can provide information, guidance and support to businesses.

Support from the Government

The Government continues to announce measures to support for business. This now includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, under which all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees' salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

The Government's business support help line provides free advice. The line is open from  9am - 6pm Monday to Friday. The number to call is 0300 456 3565.  They can outline what is available to support your business which we encourage you to look at, including:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for support to all UK businesses to continue paying employees' salaries
  • Cash grants for business with small business rates relief
  • Statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
  • 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses - see https://www.gov.uk/contact-your-local-council-about-business-rates
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
  • HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
  • Business loans backed by the government

Note: If you are a customer within an arch, your local authority may not automatically recognise you for relief on business rates from 1 April 2020.  However, some authorities will consider a request for temporary rates relief on a case by case basis. Please contact your local authority or go on-line to see how you can apply. 

Support from the London Growth Hub, Federation of Small Businesses and Guardian of the Arches

The London Growth Hub has set up a dedicated coronavirus web page to bring together essential resources to help your business manage and mitigate its exposure to the impact of coronavirus. The web page also includes an important checklist to help your business prepare and to manage risks.

The Federation of Small Businesses website is a great place to find information for your small business.  Their website is constantly updated with tips and support for you and is the best place to hear up to date news from central government and how it is affecting you.

Guardian of the Arches can provide specific support for our arch based customers.

Keeping your business records up to date

It is crucial you keep records of how your business is performing over this period.  It will  help us understand how we can help you when we get through this, so please do keep records.


Rent arrears

Q: What is the situation with arrears or rent and other charges?  Will these be chased?      

A: We will treat customers sympathetically. We want to support business across the estate during this challenging time. 

Please discuss your circumstances with BNPPRE or their property manager.

There are various options we can consider including a payment plan or moves towards paying rent monthly. We would encourage you to pay monthly to help manage your cash flow, if you do not already.

Q: I'm struggling with my existing payment plans. What can I do?

A: We can look to renegotiate the payment plan over a longer period. 

Please speak to BNPPRE or your property manager to explore your options.

Q: I want to pay rent monthly, is that okay?

A: Yes. In fact, we would encourage you to switch to help manage your cash flow.

The ability to move from quarterly to monthly payments already exists.  Please speak to your property manager to arrange this.


Other transactions and negotiations

Q: Will rent reviews and lease renewals continue?

A: All rent review and lease renewal negotiations will stop. 

If your lease has expired and you wish to renew (any negotiations will only start gain at a time that is right for you), we will issue you with a Tenancy at Will so that you can stay in occupation. The Tenancy at Will will maintain your current passing rent.

Any discounts that are agreed with us, including those listed above, will continue under the Tenancy at Will but these will be applied separately. 

Q: If I wish to continue with the lease renewal, then can we proceed as normal?

A: You must put the request in writing to your property manager.

If a you want to renew and complete the paperwork, then will proceed. 

Please note, lease terms may assume a normal market given the length of leases. Any rebate or concession to reflect the current situation will be agreed outside of the lease. 

We will be sensitive to your needs and circumstances and should you change your mind, we are happy to delay negotiations again.

Q: What if I want to surrender my lease?

A: We are sorry that you are considering surrendering your lease. We understand what a difficult decision it must be. We do not want to see any businesses on our estate fail because of the present situation which is why we are helping where needed, including on rent.

If you decide that you do want to surrender your lease, please write to your property manager with your request setting out the reasons why you wish to surrender the lease. We will talk to you to understand the depth and breath of any problems to ascertain whether there is anything we can do to help in the interim period to assist the business. 


Facilities management, construction and refurbishments

Q: I have closed my business. Can I do construction or refurboshment works in my property?

 

A: No, unless they are absolutely essential. 

 

Q: Why are you asking me to stop my construction works?

 

A: We are following Government advice and will treat construction works as non-essential. We are advising you to Safe Stop all construction activities with immediate effect. We have guidance that can support you in doing so. Please let us know when each site is safely closed and secured. 

 

Q: How soon do we have to Safe Stop our construction activities?

 

A: The request to Safe Stop takes effect immediately. We know that you need to do this in a structured and safe way. Please make every effort to Safe Stop within the next 48 hours. Remember though some activities may need checking, for example, scaffolding inspections, and you may need to put in place specific arrangements for these checks.

 

Q:What is Safe Stop?

A: We know that some works cannot be safely stopped immediately. You may need to put in place safety procedures and some activities may need to be checked on an ongoing basis to maintain safety.

Please make every effort to Safe Stop and secure your works in the next 48 hours.

 

Q: My construction works are critical are there any exemptions?

 

A: All construction works are to Safe Stop. Only in specific cases where there may be an impact to an operational railway or a safety and security issue will occur if the project does not take place may works be exempt and can continue until safe to do so or the works are completed. You must contact us immediately if you think your works may be exempt so that we can review the works.

 

Q: I have already started some works. What if I suffer financially because of stopping my construction works?

 

A: If you believe that you will suffer financially from stopping your works you should get in touch with us as soon as possible. We will ask you to submit evidence including, but not limited to, what work has stopped, what has been lost financially and certified documentation from your contractors, so please keep thorough records.

 

Please contact your property manager in the first instance or, alternatively, the wider team at pmqueries@tfl.gov.uk.

 

Q: I have not started construction works but am in the planning or design phase, can this continue?

 

A: In short, yes. We will continue to support you with your planned works, including design and approvals, up to the point of construction works commencing. Any planned construction works should be put on hold until further guidance to proceed is issued. We will not be undertaking site visits as this is deemed non-essential travel.

 

You will need to contact your local council if you have any planning applications or approvals in relation to your works to understand if they are able to provide continued support during this time.

 

Q: When can my construction works recommence?

 

A: We will continue to follow Government advice and will let you know when non-essential construction works can recommence.


Securing vacant property

Q: I am no longer open to the public but am now providing services to the community. Can I stay open? 

A: Ultimately, we all need to act responsibly to fight coronavirus. We urge you to follow the Government's guidance on what is and isn't an essential business. 

Many of our tenants have acted quickly to provide amazing support to their communities and to emergency service workers and we ask you all to continue following Government guidance.  

Q: How will I gain access to my unit if the station has been closed? 

A: We continue to maintain the safety and security of our stations, including any that are closed as we maintain a transport service for key workers.  

If you need to access your premises in a closed station, please contact your property manager to discuss this in advance. 

Q: What if I no longer wish to continue operating how do I surrender my lease? 

A: We would encourage you to discuss your specific business circumstances with us before making any long-term decisions regarding your business. We do not want to see businesses on our estate shut permanently or surrender premises as a direct result of the current crisis, which is why we were so quick to provide assurance around rents and will continue to provide support to our customers. 

If you take the difficult decision to surrender your lease, let your property manager know. They will ask you for further information. Please be aware that any surrender may take several weeks owing to challenges around necessary activities like inspecting the relevant premises. 

Q: Do I need to tell my insurance company that I have closed? 

A: If you are vacating your premises, even in the short term, you should inform your property manager (and, if your premises are in a station, the station manager).  

Where you have your own insurance, you should contact your insurer to inform them that you are vacating the premises. 

Q: Do I need to inspect my property whilst it is vacant? 

A: It is important that we all follow the Government's guidance to fight coronavirus, including staying at home and only travelling when essential.  

We will be carrying out regular external inspections of our properties during the current lock down. This includes inspections by our station staff where properties are in side stations and inspections by our facilities management partner Vinci where properties are outside stations. 

If you have your own insurance for your property, our regular inspections are likely to fulfil your obligations if your property is vacant, but please check the wording of your policy and contact your property manager if you have any questions. 


Other questions

Q: Is there any claim that can be made by our customers on the TfL policy from Aspen Insurance if my property cannot be used, for example if forcibly closed by government order due to the virus?                                                                                                                                            

A: Unfortunately, there is no cover for losses connected with the pandemic.