Struggling retail and hospitality businesses are set to be safe from eviction for unpaid rent for another six months, according to reports today.
The government is set to extend the ban on commercial evictions until 2022, The Telegraph reported, prompting a welcome response from occupiers and anger from owners.
Curbs on landlords taking a tenant’s goods and selling them to recoup rent arrears are also expected to be extended.
Hospitality sector bosses had predicted a wave of closures if measures supporting the industry had ended as scheduled on 1 July.
At a Treasury Select Committee hearing earlier this month, representatives from the travel, hospitality and retail sector said GBP5bn in overdue rent had accrued during lockdowns.
UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls said a third of its members expect to receive rent demands as soon as the deadline passed, even if some were still shut.
In a statement today, Nicholls said that if the report was true it would ‘banish a grim shadow that has hung menacingly over hospitality’ since the Covid crisis began.
Plans expected to be revealed later today by the government will also include a new arbitration service to help resolve disputes between tenants and landlords.
Nicholls added: “It will form a strong bedrock for negotiated settlements that can help heal the damaged that the pandemic has wrought, and will be a positive signal that the Government has been listening to our sector, and acted to ease its plight.”
Landlord bodies called on the government to make sure that well-capitalised companies are not allowed to exploit the moratoriums to avoid paying rent.
Shares in retail property owners fell on the report with Hammerson PlC (LON:HMSO) down 4.2% to 39.6p, Land Securities PLC (LON:LAND) 1% lower at 696p and British land PLC (LON:BLND) off1.5% to 497.8p.