The Government has extended a ban to protect struggling businesses, in particular the hospitality and on-trade sector which has been the most affected from eviction this summer, as rent breaks across the high street come to an end, following the easing of lockdown.
The extension, until the end of September, comes together with further support to help local businesses plan for economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
A new Code of Practice has been established with leaders from the retail, hospitality and property sectors to provide transparency for businesses when debating rental payments with landlords and to encourage best practice so that all parties are supported.
These interventions are in addition to the comprehensive financial package provided by the Government to businesses during the crisis and is in acknowledgment of the strain that the retail and hospitality sector is currently under. The code is voluntary for businesses and is applicable to all commercial leases held by businesses in any sector which have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The code encourages tenants to continue to pay their rent in full if they are in a position to do so and advises that others should pay what they can, whilst recognizing that landlords should provide support to businesses if they too are able to do so
The deferral of the threat of evictions will be welcomed in particular by pubs, cafes and restaurants, after the hospitality sector called upon the government for action in this area.
Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “As our high streets come to life and our town centres open for business, it is crucial that both landlords and tenants have clarity and reassurance as they seek to keep their finances stable and bounce back.
“That is why we are extending measures to protect those who are unable to pay rent from eviction so that businesses have the security they need to plan for their futures.
“And in recognition of the strain that the virus has had on our high streets, our new code, backed by leaders across the industry, will help unlock conversations on rent and future payments whilst ensuring best practice is displayed across the board as we confront the challenges of this pandemic.”
Business Secretary Alok Sharma MP said: “From clothes stores to our local book shop, we want as many high street businesses as possible to emerge from the pandemic, in the best position to bounce back.
“During this particularly challenging time for businesses, our retail stores are safely welcoming shoppers back and taking the necessary steps to drive economic recovery.
“By putting a stop to unreasonable evictions, these measures will protect jobs and provide further flexibility to our high street businesses that were trading successfully before the COVID-19 emergency, so they can focus on continuing to deliver for their customers and communities.”