Rent moratorium extended – it will probably need to be again

The government this week announced an extension of the ban on commercial evictions for three months, which will take us to June 30.

Given rent is by far the most pressing and strenuous issue faced by pubs and restaurants currently, with lockdown still upon us, it is a welcome decision. These takeaway boxes don’t bring in as much as full dining rooms…

Even after hospitality is allowed to open, there will be restrictions in place and profitability is no certainty. June, then, will also be a tentative period – we predict calls for further action down the line.

We anticipate financial support after opening will be much harder achieved, however.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA), said rent debt continues to pile up and Government intervention was necessary. And more will need to be done.

He said: “[This] will require lead departments to use this period to address these issues and look at potential solutions where the stakeholders share the burden of debt from rent arrears.

“Consideration needs to be given to a more robust code of conduct, which would require some mandatory elements within it, similar to the Australian model, ensuring that each stakeholder comes to the table to resolve this current situation.”

For now we’ll celebrate a victory which will ensure the survival of countless businesses.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Extending the moratorium is a sensible and positive step by the government. It was really the only option for businesses that are on the brink of reopening but have piled up so much rent debt over the past year.”

More to come on this.

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