Written by: Keith Tully
The ban on commercial property evictions has been extended by three months and will now last until at least the end of June 2021, the UK government has announced.
It is intended that the extension of the ban will provide some breathing space to businesses that have struggled to or been unable to pay their commercial rents over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Plans are in place for the economy to gradually reopen over the next few months, with many non-essential businesses, including thousands of hospitality operators, expected to fully reopen in May.
Residential property tenants have also been told that at least six-month notice periods will be required before they can be evicted from their homes up until May 31.
“It is right that as we move through the roadmap, we ensure that businesses and renters continue to be supported,” said the government’s housing secretary Robert Jenrick in a recent statement.
“These measures build on the government’s action to provide financial support as restrictions are lifted over the coming months,” he added.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng added: “I know business owners will welcome this latest package of support and the breathing space it will give them to prepare for a safe reopening.”
The government has also said that any business that can afford to continue paying its rent as normal should do so, something which some organisations have claimed is not currently happening in part because evictions have been banned.
Melanie Leach, chief executive of the British Property Federation, has said: “Well-capitalised businesses, who can but won’t pay rent, have raided our nation’s pensions and savings invested in commercial property – this scandal must stop.”
By contrast, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, has welcomed the extension of the commercial property evictions ban and said it “provides much-needed breathing space to retailers impacted most by the pandemic”.
“Retailers have lost over £22 billion of store sales during the three lockdowns, and the ban on aggressive rent enforcement is a vital protection against being pushed into administration by landlords,” she added.
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