Measures announced to protect high street retailers from aggressive rent collection
30th April 2020
Announced last week, the Government will temporarily ban creditors from using statutory demands (essentially a written warning that if tenants don't pay their debt, the creditor may start court proceedings) between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. This announcement follows reports that some landlords have been using these aggressive tactics towards tenants who are already facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic, putting them under further pressure.
Landlords and investors have been asked to work with high street businesses that are unable to pay their bills during COVID-19 pandemic and those who are struggling to pay their bills due to coronavirus are instead being asked to pay what they can.
Any winding-up petitions issued to commercial tenants between 27 April 2020 and 30 June 2020 will be voided and commercial landlords will be unable to use commercial rent arrears recovery unless they are owed 90 days or more of unpaid rent.
Alok Sharma, business secretary, said:
"It is vital we ensure businesses are kept afloat so they can continue to provide the jobs our economy needs beyond the coronavirus pandemic.
"I know that like all businesses commercial landlords are under pressure, but I would urge them to show forbearance to their tenants.”
Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the British Retail Consortium, added:
"Rents are a huge burden for retailers that must be paid even where shops are closed and this announcement protects firms who - during these extraordinary times - are unable to meet their rent obligations.
"This will give retailers some vital relief and help safeguard millions of jobs all across the country."