Commercial Rent moratorium extended to March 2022

Coronavirus, Security,

The ban on commercial evictions has been extended to 25th March 2022 to allow an extra nine months for businesses affected by Cororanvirus to recover. The previous moratorium was due to expire at the end of June 2021.

Treasury secretary Stephen Barclay has told the Commons ‘Existing measures will remain in place, including extending the current moratorium to protect tenants from eviction to 25th March 2022.’

‘Many businesses have accrued debts to landlords and because of threats to jobs we introduced rent protection. Landlords and tenants should resolve those debts in an orderly fashion.’

Restrictions on landlords using laws permitting them to recover rent arrears by selling a tenant’s goods will also continue.

Barclay confirmed that the extension of the rent moratorium would remain in place until the government can legislate for the framework for a binding arbitration scheme.

He also confirmed plans to introduce a binding arbitration scheme to resolve disputes between landlords and commercial tenants. This scheme is unlikely to be in place before spring 2022.

According to the Commercial Tenants Association an estimated £7bn in unpaid rent arrears is owed to commercial landlords.

Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: ‘An extension to the commercial rents moratorium will give much-needed breathing space to firms in the hardest-hit sectors. For many, this could make the difference in keeping businesses afloat and people in jobs.

‘Treating debts accrued through COVID-enforced closures differently makes sense, and the CBI welcomes guidance for occupiers and landlords to deal fairly with these arrears. The promise of arbitration to settle disputes should encourage grown-up conversations in the months ahead.’

The government has made clear that any businesses that can pay all or any of their rent should do so.

Barclay said: ‘All tenants should start to pay rent again in accordance with their leases as soon as they are able to open.’

Statutory demands and winding up petitions will also remain restricted for a further three months to protect companies from creditor enforcement action where their debts relate to the pandemic.

We’ve seen a range of responses from landlords during the pandemic. Some have taken a long view, and proactively supported their tenants, while others have made no contact at all, and expected rent to be paid in full throughout.

Wherever your Landlord may be on the spectrum, it’s important that you know exactly what you owe, and have factored those arrears into your cashflow for the coming months. If you need help to ensure you can do that accurately, please get in touch.

 

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