Eviction protection extended for businesses most in need

Businesses that have had to remain closed during the pandemic and are unable to pay rent on their commercial property will continue to be protected from eviction, giving them the breathing space they need and helping to protect jobs, the government announced on 16 June 2021.

In order to give businesses the help they need to recover from the pandemic, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that legislation will be introduced in this session to ring fence outstanding unpaid rent that has built up when a business has had to remain closed during the pandemic. Landlords are expected to make allowances for the ring fenced rent arrears from these specific periods of closure due to the pandemic, and share the financial impact with their tenants.

The legislation will help tenants and landlords work together to come to an agreement on how to handle the money owed – this could be done by waiving some of the total amount or agreeing a longer-term repayment plan.

This agreement should be between the tenant and landlord and, if in some cases, an agreement cannot be made, the law will ensure a binding arbitration process will be put in place so that both parties can come to a formal agreement. This will be a legally binding agreement that both parties must adhere to.

In order to ensure landlords are protected, the government is making clear that businesses who are able to pay rent, must do so. Tenants should start paying their rent as soon as restrictions change, and they are given the green light to open.

The existing measures in place to protect commercial tenants from eviction will be extended to 25 March 2022. This is to ensure that the sectors who have been unable to open have enough time to come to an agreement with their landlord without the threat of eviction.

Statutory demands and winding up petitions will also remain restricted for a further three months to protect companies from creditor enforcement action where their debts relate to the pandemic.