Commercial tenants who cannot pay rent because of coronavirus-related disruption will be protected from eviction, the Government has revealed.
The measure forms part of the state’s emergency support package for businesses financially affected by Covid-19.
According to the Ministry of Housing, the legislation, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean that no business can be forcibly removed from their premises should they miss a payment over the next three months.
If possible, the Government recommends that landlords and commercial tenants should communicate difficulties and come to a voluntary arrangement about rent payments, as businesses up and down the country struggle to control cash flow.
Importantly, the legislation will only defer rental payments, meaning any accumulated debt will still need to be paid after 30 June, when the temporary rules come to an end.
Commenting on the new rules, Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, said: “We are protecting both people and their businesses by providing the urgent support they need.
“We know many commercial landlords are already setting a great example by working closely with tenants and offering rent deferrals or holidays.
“However, these new measures will provide reassurance to businesses struggling with cashflows and ensure no commercial tenant is evicted if they cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus over the next three months.”
The announcement has been welcomed by business bodies, including the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), who say the legislation will give “peace of mind” to millions of business owners “desperately struggling with cash flow”.
“We know sensible conversations between landlords and commercial tenants are taking place – but having this legislative backstop to prevent evictions during the worst of the crisis will provide much needed peace of mind for many small businesses,” said FSB chairman Mike Cherry.
Are you a commercial landlord or tenant in need of support? For help and advice, get in touch with our expert team.