UK: The British government has extended the rent moratorium which protects commercial tenants from evictions until March next year.
A ban which prevented landlords from taking tenants to court for unpaid rent was due to end at the end of this month, 30 June.
However, Monday’s announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that England’s final easing of restrictions will be delayed by four weeks has prompted the extension of the rent moratorium.
Plans are also set to be put in place for a scheme to resolve disputes between landlords and commercial tenants when the eviction ban is eventually lifted.
Treasury Secretary Stephen Barclay said: “All tenants should start to pay rent again in accordance with the terms of their lease or as otherwise agreed with their landlord as soon as restrictions are removed on their sector if they are not already doing so.”
UKHospitality estimated there is currently around £2.5 billion in rent arrears built up by hospitality firms over the course of the pandemic.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These measures are wholly welcome and will banish a grim shadow that has hung menacingly over hospitality since the Covid crisis began 15 months ago. The legislation will form a strong bedrock for negotiated and fair settlements that can help heal the damage that the pandemic has wrought, and is a hugely positive signal that the government has been listening to our sector, and acted to ease its plight.
“Thankfully, many landlords and tenants have managed to come to an amicable arrangement over rent arrears, but many could not and the government’s announcement brings in an equitable solution where there is a sharing of the pain. These are unprecedented measures but wholly merited and justified in these unprecedented times, bringing some stability back to an uncertain and unsettled property market. At last, this existential crisis for hospitality looks like reaching a fair conclusion, easing a path to recovery for a sector that can help the national economy back to prosperity.”