Commercial tenants unable to pay rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction, the government has announced.
The government has introduced emergency legislation to enact a moratorium on commercial landlord sanctions and debt enforcement for at least three months.
Many operators’ quarterly rent bills are due on Wednesday, just three weeks after the industry began haemorrhaging cash due to the coronavirus pandemic, and landlords would have been able to seize a property 28 days after a missed rent payment.
These measures, included in the emergency coronavirus bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of its premises if it misses a payment in the next three months.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “With the next pending rent day falling this Wednesday, this move by the Government is hugely welcome and will help to protect jobs across the sector. The industry has been pressing ministers for several days to act on this crucial issue, and we are thankful they have responded positively to our concerns.
“While this removes the immediate cashflow pressure of quarter rent day, the Government has made clear that the negotiation is now with lessee and landlord to reach a solution on payment. Hospitality businesses want to work with landlords constructively during this crisis to find solutions and the hope now is that they enter into meaningful discussions on the optimum way forward.”
"There is no doubt that this is going to be incredibly helpful," said Street Feast founder Jonathan Downey. "Business owners will now have some proper time to work out how best to push through this crisis and bounce out the other side."