Business owners affected by the pandemic will be protected from eviction until the end of March 2021.
Business owners affected by the pandemic will be protected from eviction until the end of March 2021, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced today¬†(9 December 2020).
The first ban on evictions of commercial tenants who could not pay their rent because of coronavirus was announced in March 2020. Since then, the majority of commercial landlords have shown flexibility, understanding and commitment to protect businesses during an exceptionally challenging time.
This final extension to protections from the threat of eviction will give landlords and tenants 3 months to come to an agreement on unpaid rent. The government is clear that where businesses can pay any or all of their rent, they should do so.¬†Further guidance to support negotiations between landlords and tenants will also be published shortly.
The move will also support businesses worst affected by the pandemic, such as bars and restaurants, helping them to rebuild over the winter period. This is in addition to putting in place one of the world‚Äôs most comprehensive economic responses to protect jobs, incomes, and business throughout and beyond this pandemic.
Alongside this, Mr Jenrick has also announced a review of the outdated commercial landlord and tenant legislation, to address concerns that the current framework does not reflect the current economic conditions.¬†This review will consider how to enable better collaboration between commercial landlords and tenants and also how to improve the leasing process to ensure our high streets and town centres thrive as we recover from the pandemic and beyond.
Today‚Äôs announcement builds on the extra government support for businesses, including targeted VAT cuts, extension of government-backed loan schemes, grants of up to ¬£3,000 for premises that must close, and ¬£1.1 billion for councils to enable them to support businesses in their area.¬†Overall the government has committed a package of over ¬£280 billion of support for businesses and employees this year and the Chancellor has confirmed an additional ¬£55 billion for next year.
Further guidance to support tenants and landlords to continue to work together to agree rent payment options where businesses are struggling will be published shortly.¬†Additional guidance to be published early next year will sit alongside the government‚Äôs Code of Practice, published in June, to encourage all parties to work together to protect viable businesses and ensure a swift economic recovery.
The government will also extend insolvency measures on restricting statutory demands and winding up petitions until the end of March.
The restriction on landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) to recover unpaid rent will also automatically extend to the end of March, in line with the moratorium‚Äôs expiry date. This allows businesses sufficient breathing space to pay rent owed.
Image: The Framing Centre in Wellingborough Road, Northampton, Northamptonshire, UK ¬© REET