Trade bodies urge Government to extend rent protection period

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Trade bodies urge Government to extend lease forfeiture moratorium until October Coronavirus

Related tags Rent ukhospitality Government Coronavirus

Industry bodies from across the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors have called for the Government to take urgent steps this week to extend protection from rent enforcement activity.

The lease forfeiture moratorium, which was introduced in March​ and ​prevents ​landlords from repossessing commercial premises if businesses are unable to pay their rent as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, is due to expire on 30 June.

Trade bodies including UKHospitality say that, unless the current protection is extended, businesses will face evictions, winding up orders and other enforcement activity. 

With many businesses still being forced to remain shut and the next quarterly rent payment due on 24 June, the bodies, which also includes ukactive and the British Independent Retailers Association, have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, calling for the Government to urgently extend the forfeiture moratorium until at least October 2020.

They are also asking for the an extension to the moratorium on evictions; and that the stamp duty land tax for extending leases be scrapped while the Coronavirus crisis is ongoing.

The letter adds that, while it is understood the Government is working with industry to develop a new Code of Practice​ designed to support businesses, there will be insufficient time for it to influence the expected rent demands in the coming weeks.

"The stand-off over rent is perhaps the biggest threat to the future of the UK’s hospitality sector," says UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls. 

“The majority of businesses have had virtually no income for months, but are still being chased by a minority of landlords over rent. 

“Some businesses have no way of paying, but are still being pushed right at the moment when we are trying to plan the reopening of the sector. 

“We need to find a solution that benefits both landlords and tenants and enables us all to share in the pain that the crisis has caused. If we are going to  find a workable solution then we need time; time to plan, reopen and negotiate.”  

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