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Eviction ban on firms behind on rent is extended by nine months

Eviction ban on firms behind on rent is extended by nine months

Closed fish and chip shop

A ban on landlords evicting firms for unpaid commercial rent is being extended for another nine months.

The ban, which stops landlords taking tenants to court for non-payment, was due to end on 30 June.

Treasury Secretary Stephen Barclay said the delay in easing lockdown restrictions, announced on Monday, “present additional challenges” to business.

It is estimated that firms in retail and hospitality are £5bn in rent debt.

“Existing measures will remain in place, including extending the current moratorium to protect commercial tenants from eviction to March 25, 2022,” Mr Barclay told the Commons.

He also announced plans for a binding arbitration scheme to resolve disputes between landlords and commercial tenants. Mr Barclay said the scheme should be in place for when the eviction ban is lifted.

He said the measures “strike the right balance” between protecting landlords and supporting firms most in need.

But Mr Barclay added: “To be clear, 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.”

Thousands of companies, especially in the hospitality sector, are still unable to trade normally, among them nightclubs and leisure firms.

In April last year the government blocked legal attempts to evict shops, restaurants and other businesses that had stopped paying rent, as part of emergency measures to soften the economic impact of the pandemic.

Hospitality leaders had called for an extension of the moratorium and for more financial support from the government.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said plans remove remaining pandemic restrictions on 21 June have been pushed back to 19 July amid concerns over the spread of the Delta variant, which was first identified in India.

Last week, the chief executives of trade groups UK Hospitality and British Retail Consortium (BRC) told MPs that both sectors have accrued a combined £5bn in rent debt.

Data for the first quarter of 2021 shows that only 74% of rent was collected by landlords 60 days following the end of the period after tenants were battered by the pandemic.

Hospitality, leisure and retail operators have also benefited from a business rates holiday since the start of the crisis.

About the author

Christine Watkins

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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