The fight against huge retail rent hikes and the practice of paying rent in advance has moved up a gear as yet more retailers report mammoth bills.

The British Retail Consortium is leading calls for rents to be paid monthly in arrears instead of three months in advance and has the backing of nine trade bodies including the Association of Convenience Stores.

The BRC has now set up a website, www.rentmonthly.org.uk, to publicise the issue.

BRC spokesman Richard Dodd said: "A number of commercial landlords have indicated that they will look at the monthly terms on new leases, which is good progress. However, changes are not going to happen overnight."
The move comes as some independents face huge rent increases. Retailers in Crawley, West Sussex, have seen their rents rise 100% after a review outsourced by their council landlord took five years to complete.

In London retailers in Bloomsbury are in dispute with their landlord Camden Council after it raised rents by 25%. Newsagent Jay Patel said some of the tenants affected feared the situation would only be resolved through the courts.

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