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Government set to extend rental moratorium

15 September 2020 by

Plans are being drawn up by the government to extend the moratorium on landlords taking action over unpaid rent until the end of the year.

Operators had been faced with the prospect of lengthy court proceedings or even property owners changing the locks once the existing arrangement ended at the end of September.

But according to the Financial Times, the ban on evictions is due to be extended to the end of the year.

UKHospitality had been warning that a "bloodbath" of hospitality business failures would follow the end of the moratorium on lease forfeiture and debt enforcement if action was not taken.

It predicted that by the time the moratorium is due to be lifted on 1 October, the sector's unsettled rent bill will amount to more than £1b.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "A huge economic shadow hangs over the sector; as things stand, later this month, many businesses will not be able to pay rent that is due. Landlords will be able to take back the keys and thousands of sites and the jobs they support will be lost.

"More time is needed to come to agreements. A moratorium that goes on until the end of March 2021 will allow businesses to trade through Christmas and New Year. With the ‘rule of six' in place, that period is undoubtedly going to be tough but at least should generate more cash than had been possible in the closure period, putting tenants into a stronger position to repay debt accrued."

She added that the sector would be keen to "work with government to build on our constructive partnership to ensure any future moratorium is targeted at those most in need and, potentially, conditional so that it brings parties together".

It has been reported that the announcement on the extension could be made next week.

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