British shopkeepers are slowly coming out of the three months lockdown and due to the shut businesses they are on the verge of bankruptcy and with the new problems of having rents due. British Mall owners are threatened by the fact that the retailers collapse into bankruptcy with little sign of new operators looking to take their place.

Third-quarter rents on the country’s commercial properties are billed Wednesday with about £2.5 billion (S$4.34 billion) owed by retailers alone, according to the British Property Federation. While mall landlords eventually got about half the rent owed for the second quarter, government curbs on their ability to force payments mean they may get even less this time around.

“This has never happened before and let’s hope to God it never happens again,” said David Fox, co-head of retail agency at broker Colliers International Group. “The expectation is that this quarter’s rent collection is likely to be slightly worse.”

Britain’s mall and store owners were already grappling with falling rents and values even before the coronavirus hit, as retailers sought to cut costs in the face of rising wages, taxes, and online competition. Now landlords face an existential threat as retailers collapse into bankruptcy with little sign of new operators looking to take their place.