The Government is putting at risk essential investment by commercial property owners and the health of our town centres
The Government has today announced a further extension to the moratoriums on commercial property owners’ rights until March 2022, and that legislation will be introduced in this session to ringfence outstanding unpaid rent that has built up when a business has had to remain closed during the pandemic.
Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation comments:
“The Government has failed to recognise that commercial property owners are essential to the health of our town centres – to creating economic growth, jobs and opportunity.
“The majority of property owners have already reached agreement with their tenants on rent, and millions of pounds have been provided to the most vulnerable tenants in the sectors most impacted by Covid-19. That support will continue in light of the delay in the recovery roadmap for those businesses that need it.
“The property industry itself proposed this idea of ringfencing rent arrears for the most vulnerable tenants hardest hit by Covid-19 – to provide more time for these tenants and their property owners to reach agreement, where they have not already done so, on rent debt built up during the pandemic. Whilst it is positive that the Government has taken this forward, there is no justification for delay. Most businesses are now open and trading and the legislation required to focus protection on the most vulnerable and to create a clear exit path to deal with rent arrears should have been put in place for the end of this month when the moratoriums are due to expire.
“Instead, another blanket extension to the moratoriums will provide further opportunity for those well-capitalised businesses who can afford to pay rent, but are refusing to do so, to continue their abuse of government and property owners’ support and will cast a long shadow over future investment to build back better.”