With the Government’s ‘roadmap’ for releasing the Country from Covid-19 restrictions being delayed by four weeks, it comes as little surprise that there is yet another extension to the moratorium on commercial property evictions says agent Prop-Search.
The Government has today (Wednesday, 16th June 2021) announced that the moratorium on commercial property evictions will now be extended until at least 25 March 2022 - two years after it was first introduced. Restrictions on landlords using laws permitting them to recover rent arrears by selling a tenant's goods will also be continued.
In a statement to the House of Commons, Steve Barclay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury said: "We believe this strikes the right balance between protecting landlords and supporting those businesses that are most in need."
The Government did launch a call for evidence on commercial rents to help monitor the overall progress of negotiations between tenants and landlords, with a view to setting out steps that Government could take after 30 June – at last date set for an end to the moratorium.
In repsonse, the Government has also today said a new arbitration "backstop" will now be brought in to help resolve disputes between landlords and tenants.
Barclay added: “We will introduce legislation in this parliament session to establish a backstop so that where commercial negotiations between tenants and landlords are not successful, they go into binding arbitration.”
“Until that legislation is on the statute book, existent measures will stay in place, including extending the existing moratorium in place to protect tenants from eviction to 25 March 2022.”
“All tenants should start to pay rent again in accordance with the terms of their lease or as otherwise agreed with their landlord.”
Commenting on today’s announcement, Samantha Jones, an Associate Director of Prop-Search, said: “The move is likely to offer some relief to businesses who have been unable to negotiate rent deferrals with landlords and feared being evicted from their properties once the protections were due to end in two weeks' time.”
“However, landlords have previously raised concerns that the moratorium has allowed some businesses to escape paying rent despite still making profits.”