Letter to landlord requesting rent-free period

18th January 2021

One way for pharmacy owners to try to ease the financial pressure on them during this pandemic is to ask their landlord if they would consider granting them a temporary rent-free period. One of our members has tried this and was offered a three-month rent-free period.

If you decide that this approach is right for you, we suggest that you may like to make a number of the following points in the letter:

· Independent community pharmacies are under enormous pressure as they step up to keep Britain healthy in the face of coronavirus. The team is putting themselves at risk every day, in a premises where maintaining social distancing is difficult

· In the pandemic, especially in lockdowns, there has been a massive rise in patient demand, together with increases in wholesale medicine costs, squeezing margins to zero, or even a deficit to the price of reimbursement by the Government, in many cases

· Pharmacies have also incurred significant increases in the costs of staffing, safety and security, and providing free delivery services to the community, as patients and residents self-isolate. We expect these additional costs of doing business to persist throughout the period of the crisis

A recent independent study by EY found that pharmacies are under-funded to the tune of £497m – with 72 percent forecast to be loss-making within four years if the current contractual arrangements carry on unchanged. The report estimates that the average pharmacy will be making an annual loss of £43k by 2024. Representations for better funding are being made to government and the NHS for fair funding, but this has yet to be rectified.