Land Securities has set up a rent relief support fund of £80m, with a particular focus on F&B operators and SMEs.

The institutional landlord said it has been working with over 300 retail, F&B and leisure customers this month to support them.

Around £15m of the rent relief fund will go towards F&B customers, broadly equivalent to three months’ rent free.

The remaining £65m will be allocated on a case by case basis to SMEs with a focus on helping those with limited access to other sources of financial assistance.

Land Sec is also working with leisure and retail operators to agree deferred payment plans.

The landlord said 65% of rent due on 25 March was paid by 31 March compared with 96% for the equivalent period last year.

Interim Chief Executive Martin Greenslade said: “Landsec is in a robust financial position with £1.2bn of cash and available facilities and no bond debt or bank facilities maturing before September 2023. However, the impact of CV-19 on our business and on market conditions continues to evolve. As a result, the Board has taken a prudent decision to cancel our third interim dividend due for payment on 9 April and will regularly review the position on future dividends as the situation develops.

“These are unprecedented times and it is incumbent upon businesses such as ours to be mindful of the huge challenges faced by many of our stakeholders. That is why we have set up an £80m support fund to provide rent relief to those of our customers who are most in need of help. We are also making available £500,000 in grants to our charity partners, so they can continue the excellent work they do in our communities. The health and wellbeing of our people has always been our priority and we were quick to encourage all our office-based staff to work from home from 16 March. These actions reflect that we recognise that the long term success of Landsec is reliant on our customers, employees and the communities in which we operate.”