Hard-lined landlords refusing to “play ball” in rent negotiations will be remembered by the industry going forward, MCA’s The Conversation has heard.

Speaking at the event, Revolution CEO Rob Pitcher said without fiscal government support to aid negotiations, there was a “collective will” among operators to understand which landlords have been supportive, and which haven’t.

Revolution launched a company voluntary arrangement in October last year – through which it exited six Revolution Bars Limited-owned sites – after failing to come to agreements with a small number of particularly “hard-lined landlords.”

Over the course of the crisis Pitcher said he had to make deals with “the full spectrum of landlords,” and added that those who realised the landlord-tenant relationship was a “two way street” and long-term partnership, where the most understanding.

“The longest relationship that a business will have with anybody is its landlord,” he said. “We will change our bank, we will change ownership structure, we will change our funders and the leadership will change. The one consistent, because of 25-year leases, is the landlord-tenant relationship.

“Some landlords have taken a long-term view on that and some haven’t. And I think, across the industry, we should look to understand who we want to partner with going forward.”

But the only way some landlords will consider coming to a rent deal is if Government provide a fiscal solution for outstanding debt, Rekom UK CEO Peter Marks added.

Also off the back of a downsizing – Rekom UK, formerly Deltic, exited ten sites through its acquisition by the Nordic nightlife operator – Marks said that five of the departed sites were as a result of failed landlord negotiations.

“Most of the landlords have been pretty good, but the five that we lost were because they were basically extremely arrogant, or they had something else that they wanted to do with the property,” he said. “Of course, there are always going to be people that want their properties back, and this has been a gift for them because they’ve been able to get out with no charge.”

And though his company is financially secure for at least the next 12 months, he pressed the point that countless late-night businesses face collapse without further support.

“Speaking on behalf of the late night sector as a wider group of people, many of which are very small single-owned businesses, we need proper fixed costs cover, and we need to be able to go to our landlords with deals that give them something,” he said.

“We’ve not paid any rent for nine months, we’re coming up for 12 months, and whilst I’m in a slightly different position to many of the others now because we’ve gone through the mangle, if businesses can’t get their landlords to do deals with them then they’re out on their ear.”