More than a quarter of all rent and a third of service charge payments due at the beginning of the UK's coronavirus lockdown were still unpaid after six-weeks, according to research from Remit Consulting 

According to the firm's research, the collection of outstanding rent due from residential and commercial tenants appears to have plateaued at an overall average of 74%, leaving over 25% of rents unpaid.

The latest data analysed by the management consultancy, which has been collecting data regarding the collection of rates and service charges by some of the UK’s largest property management businesses since the March quarter day, reveals that there was no increase in the overall average collection rate of rent over the six weeks since the quarter day due date. The overall collection rate of service charge payments, over the same period, saw a 3% increase to 66%.

“The fact that the rate at which outstanding rent and service charge payments are being received has levelled off gives a degree of certainty to investors regarding the income they can expect this quarter,” said Steph Yates, a senior consultant at Remit Consulting.

“March quarter day, which occurred a few days after the Covid-19 lockdown came into force, saw just 48% of commercial and residential rent being collected by the members of the Property Managers Forum participating in our study. Following an initial period of what appears to be caution and uncertainty among tenants, the overall average collection rate of rent and service charges across the residential and commercial sectors rose steadily over three weeks as tenants seemingly adjusted to the reality of the situation.

“Collection rates then slowed around the time that the government announced protection measures for tenants affected by the coronavirus from aggressive landlords. Since the week of the government’s announcement, made on the 23rd April, the collection of rent and service charge by property managers has increased by just 7%.

“While the figures show that 26% of rent and 34% of service charge payments remain outstanding overall, the picture in the retail sector is particularly grim. Around halfway through the Quarter, and six weeks after payment was due, 42% of retail rents and 44% of service charges within the retail sector have still not been received,” said Yates

“Despite the hard work of the industry to collect the money due, the overall shortfall in income is a real concern. There is a general feeling that this is going to be as good as it gets in this payment period and the attention of investors and their property managers is now being turned towards strategies for the June quarter day,” she added.

Remit Consulting has been surveying members of its Property Managers Forum since the beginning of April and has collected data from some of the UK’s largest property management firms concerning nearly 78,700 separate leases on over 18,350 commercial and residential properties nationwide.