Fears that thousands of shops housed in railway arches would face crippling rent rises are being borne out after the sale of Network Rail’s property portfolio, owners of the businesses have said.
Despite concerns from tenants, last year the government signed off the £1.5bn selloff to Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners, who took control of the 5,200 properties.
With the arches used by businesses across the country, from bakers and bike shops to mechanics and brewers, there are claims that as a result some of them have been hit with up to 85% rent increases.
One tattoo artist said that after a visit from the Arch Company, the vehicle through which Telereal and Blackstone own the sites, his landlord received a phone call saying they wanted him out within four weeks as his shop did not “fit their business model”.
Moby Kenyon, a tattoo artist from Peckham, started his business with four others two years ago and employs 12 people at the store, Rye Lanez.
“It would be beyond devastating, it would destroy the business,” he said, reacting to the possibility of being evicted in less than a month. “We have put so much work into getting this place set up. We’ve never taken any loans out but grown it organically.
There usually are break clauses in leases. But one that takes effect in 4 weeks over “we don’t like you”?
I have more than a sneaking suspicion that there’s no lease here. So, in the absence of a lease and security of tenancy why is there this complaint about insecurity of tenancy?