Commercial evictions extended again

The government has extended a ban on commercial evictions until March 2022, in a move that marks a blow for retail landlords but welcome news for high street tenants.

Existing measures in place will run to March 25. The government said this “is to ensure that the sectors who are unable to open have enough time to come to an agreement with their landlord without the threat of eviction”.

The government had faced some calls for the moratorium on evictions, finishing at the end of the month, to be extended. Many hospitality firms are under more pressure now after the planned June 21 easing of lockdown plan was delayed.

It is estimated there is some £6 billion of unpaid rent bills since the start of the pandemic, although part of that has already been written off by landlords.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that legislation will be introduced to ringfence outstanding unpaid rent that has built up when a business has had to remain closed during the pandemic.

Landlords are expected to make allowances for the ringfenced rent arrears from these specific periods of closure due to the pandemic, and share the financial impact with their tenants.

The government pointed to tenants and property owners working together on agreements, including potentially by waiving some of the amount owed, or coming up with longer term repayment plans.

In addition, the government said it is making it clear that businesses who are able to pay rent, must do so. Tenants should start paying their rent as soon as restrictions change, and they are given the green light to open.

The latest extension had been tipped in reports, including in The Telegraph, and a number of chief executives this morning told the Evening Standard the move would be either welcomed, or in some cases viewed as not helpful.



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