Hawthorn boss Mark Davies, who also sits on the board of parent company New River real estate investment trust, has sympathised with the landlord position, saying the situation with rent debt is “very complex”.

Davies told MCA’s The Conversation that landlords had already been “kicked very hard” before Covid-19, with abuse of CVAs by operators to cut rent arrears.

He was speaking after the deadline for a government call to evidence, which is seeking to find a resolution to the billions worth rent debt accumulated during the crisis.

Davies said as a tenanted and lease pub company, Hawthorn had “done the right thing”, and provided around £8m in rent concessions in the last 12 months

Discussing his alternative perspective, from the executive team of a REIT, he said: “Obviously the ownership structure of commercial property around the UK, from private pensions, all the way up to British land and LandSec, with the institutional investors somewhere in between, it’s quite fragmented.

“What this has done of course is demonstrated quite clearly the difference between, a freehold model and a leasehold model, and the pros and cons of these.

“I think the banks will play quite a big part in this, because a lot of the large property owning companies will no doubt have to seek forgiveness from their banks to do certain things in the future, as they have done over the last 12 months

“It’s really important that people work together, but there are no doubt some landlords out there that will cut off their nose to spite their face. Fortunately they are the minority and they do make a lot of noise.

He added: “Don’t forget, this is a sector that’s been kicked very hard before Covid came along, with the abuse of CVAs, which is effectively an insolvency procedure.

“It’s almost become quite normal to do CVA, so it wasn’t like landlords were in a particularly good state in some cases coming into this.”