UKHospitality has “unreservedly welcomed” the Government announcement of new rules to ring-fence Covid-19 commercial rent arrears and the extension of measures to protect commercial tenants from evictions to March next year.
The extensions to moratoria on commercial evictions and to debt recovery actions, and the introduction of an arbitration process to guide settlements between landlords and tenants are wholly in line with proposals recommended by UKHospitality in its response to the call for evidence on rents earlier this year.
UKHospitality estimates there is currently around £2.5bn in rent arrears built up by hospitality firms during the course of the pandemic.
Commenting on the new legislation, Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality’s CEO, said: “These measures are wholly welcome and will banish a grim shadow that has hung menacingly over hospitality since the Covid crisis began 15 months ago.
“The legislation will form a strong bedrock for negotiated and fair settlements that can help heal the damage that the pandemic has wrought, and is a hugely positive signal that the Government has been listening to our sector, and acted to ease its plight.
“Thankfully, many landlords and tenants have managed to come to an amicable arrangement over rent arrears, but many could not and the Government’s announcement brings in an equitable solution where there is a sharing of the pain.
“These are unprecedented measures but wholly merited and justified in these unprecedented times, bringing some stability back to an uncertain and unsettled property market.
“At last, this existential crisis for hospitality looks like reaching a fair conclusion, easing a path to recovery for a sector that can help the national economy back to prosperity.”