The Treasury has reassured many distressed business owners by confirming that a moratorium on commercial evictions introduced in April 2020 will now be extended for another year.
The ban, introduced more than a year ago, has already been extended twice and was due to expire at the end of June but will now remain in place until at least March 2022.
Under the temporary rules, landlords of commercial properties are restricted from evicting tenants and are not permitted to recover rent arrears by selling a tenant’s goods.
Although not much additional financial support has been given in relation to the extension of lockdown restriction until 19 July, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay confirmed that help would be offered via the moratorium to struggling businesses.
Speaking in a statement on the economy in the Commons, Mr Barclay said that the extension to the current moratorium “strikes the right balance between protecting landlords and supporting those businesses that are most in need”.
He added: “We will introduce legislation in this parliamentary session to establish a backstop so that, where commercial negotiations between tenants and landlords are not successful, tenants and landlords go into binding arbitration.
“Until that legislation is on the statute book, existing measures will remain in place including extending the current moratorium to protect commercial tenants from eviction to 25 March 2022.”
The Government has reiterated that, where possible, tenants should start to pay rent again under the terms of their lease or as otherwise agreed with their landlords once restrictions are removed on their sector.
While this latest extension is positive news for many businesses, particularly those in hard-hit sectors such as hospitality and leisure, for commercial property landlords it may mean many more months without rental income or the option to evict tenants to bring in new paying businesses.