Property Week have reported that the government has announced that the ban on commercial evictions has been extended by three months until 30 June.
These measures build on the government’s action to provide financial support as restrictions are lifted over the coming months – extending the furlough scheme, business rates holiday and the Universal Credit uplift.
With further rates relief and new grants, and a clear plan for re-opening, high streets businesses should be confident in approaching their property owners to forge an economic partnership in which they can agree how to manage rental debt fairly. Rational property owners want their tenants to thrive – empty properties generate no income and are a blight on our high streets.
Melanie Leech, chief executive, British Property Federation said: “As they prepare to re-open, in premises which property owners and their agents have kept safe and well-maintained, the scandal of those well-capitalised businesses who can pay rent, but have chosen not to, cannot be allowed to continue. Their behaviour has raided our nation’s pensions and savings invested in commercial property, and has been a heavy blow for already stretched local authority landlords and public finances.”
The government has made clear that any businesses that can pay all or any of their rent should do so.
The review of commercial landlord and tenant legislation will be launched later this year and will consider a broad range of issues including the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 Part II, different models of rent payment, and the impact of Coronavirus on the market.
The Ministry of Justice will also lay a Statutory Instrument to extend the restriction on the use of the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) process by landlords. This measure will increase the total number of days’ outstanding rent required for CRAR to be used to 457 days’ between 25 March and 23 June, and 554 days’ between the 24 and 30 June. This measure will continue to provide protection to tenants of commercial leases with rent arrears accumulated during the coronavirus period, while protections from forfeiture for business tenancies are in place under the Coronavirus Act 2020.