The government has extended the moratorium on lease forfeitures and enforcement activity until the end of September, and has introduced a new code of practice to facilitate rent negotiations.
UKHospitality has welcomed the move and called on the government to consider extending the moratorium further to allow businesses time to assess the state of the sector's recovery. It has also reiterated the need for government financial intervention to bridge the gap between landlords and hospitality tenants that have been closed for months with virtually no income to pay rent.
The code of practice encourages tenants to pay rent in full where they can, but also acknowledges that landlords should provide support to those businesses unable to do so. It has been developed with input from businesses leaders including UKHospitality.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "The hospitality sector has seen its income almost totally wiped out by this crisis and therefore businesses simply cannot meet their rent obligations. Although the majority of landlords have been pragmatic, a minority have aggressively pursued tenants that have been closed for months and no ability to pay.
"This code goes some way to bringing together landlords and tenants in the pursuit of a negotiated solution to allow hospitality businesses to move on and revert to the new normal, but this must be recognised as a first step that needs to be built on by all parties.
"Further time and support is needed to facilitate a recovery for the hospitality sector that is at the heart of our social lives and communities. The moratorium should be extended until the end of the year to keep businesses alive and allow the code to support negotiations to find a solution.
"The reality is that we are now at a point where fiscal support is going to be needed in many cases. It is now the only option if we want to avoid widespread business failures. The government must consider supporting hospitality businesses who cannot pay rent."