Jonathan Downey has written a second letter to the chancellor Rishi Sunak with a new national time out rent proposal.

The Hospitality Union founder is calling for a 12-month rent free period whilst a business is closed, and a shift to turnover rent once open again.

The period is to be retrospective, running from 25 March to whenever said business can reopen, and will have the potential to span four rent quarters if required.

All hospitality tenants will be entitled to claim on the basis of government enforced closure, physical distancing making it impossible to operate, or unviability of opening.

If businesses have already partially opened, for takeaway or delivery for example, then the rent-free period will be limited to the 15 weeks of lockdown – from the 25 March to 4 July.

For those businesses that are able to reopen from the date lockdown is lifted and dine-in returns, the landlord will decide between tenants paying either a turnover rent (e.g. 10% net turnover) or a reduced rate (e.g. 25% of the prevailing rent under the relevant lease.)

“Tenants decide whether they wish to participate in the scheme,” Downey explained. “Many will choose not to because they have reached their own deals already or will want to offer more to their landlords where particular circumstances require it.”

Currently, government support on the rent issue is comprised of a debt enforcement moratorium and the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill, which retrospectively protects tenants from statutory demands and winding up petitions by landlords dated from 1 March and 27 April.

Government is also said to be working with businesses and trade bodies to provide a code of conduct on commercial rent payments.