Businesses cannot be evicted by landlords for getting behind on rent payments until the end of 2020, the government said today, announcing an extension on an earlier policy.
The moratorium on commercial tenant evictions may deepen the rift between retailers and landlords, as the high street continues to struggle amid dampened footfall.
The government is hoping the extension will help protect jobs once the furlough scheme ends next month, encouraging businesses to stay afloat during the busy Christmas period.
“During this particularly challenging time for businesses, it is crucial that both landlords and tenants have the clarity and reassurance they need to build back better from the pandemic,” said business secretary Alok Sharma.
“Extending the temporary measures we put in place earlier this year to protect businesses from the threat of eviction will give them some much-needed breathing space at a critical moment in the UK’s economic recovery.”
Ministers also announced an extension on the restriction on landlords using commercial rents arrears recovery to enforce unpaid rent on commercial leases until the end of 2020.
“For many small firms, economic activity is still far lower compared to before the crisis, and support through interventions like this one are crucial to safeguarding thousands of firms and millions of jobs,” said Mike Cherry, national chair at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
“With the furlough scheme ending in a matter of weeks, more must be done to ensure that small firms including renters, who are the backbone of the economy, have the necessary support they need to survive.”