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Government extends measures to halt business evictions and support high street firms

Written by Latifa Yedroudj on Wednesday, 24 June 2020. Posted in Politics, Analysis

The government will extend the period of support to struggling companies who cannot pay their rent during the coronavirus pandemic

Government extends measures to halt business evictions and support high street firms

The government will extend the period of support to struggling companies who cannot pay their rent during the coronavirus pandemic

Businesses across the UK have temporarily shut down operations amid the coronavirus lockdown. In March, the government promised no businesses will be forced to evacuate if they missed rent payments by June 30. The government has now agreed to extend current measures until September to support distressed businesses and help them prepare for future recovery.

The measures will protect businesses who are unable to pay rent from eviction, so that businesses can plan for their future recovery post-coronavirus. Tenants are encouraged to continue to pay their rent in full if they are in a position to do so but if they are not, businesses are advised to pay what they can. Landlords are also encouraged to provide support to businesses if they are able to do so during this difficult time.

The support measures, which will be extended until the end of September, will help local businesses plan for economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. The new Code of Practice has been developed by leaders from the retail, hospitality and property sectors, and aims to provide support to shops and local firms planning their future recovery with their landlord. This will encourage best practice so that all parties are supported during this difficult time.  These interventions will be in addition to the comprehensive financial package provided by the UK government, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and the Bounce Back Loans scheme, in a bid to lessen the strain that sectors are currently facing. The code is voluntary for businesses in any sector which have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“As our high streets come to life and our town centres open for business, it is crucial that both landlords and tenants have clarity and reassurance as they seek to keep their finances stable and bounce back,” Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said. “That is why we are extending measures to protect those who are unable to pay rent from eviction so that businesses have the security they need to plan for their futures.”

 “And in recognition of the strain that the virus has had on our high streets, our new code, backed by leaders across the industry, will help unlock conversations on rent and future payments whilst ensuring best practice is displayed across the board as we confront the challenges of this pandemic,” Business Secretary Alok Sharma MP said. “From clothes stores to our local book shop, we want as many high street businesses as possible to emerge from the pandemic, in the best position to bounce back. During this particularly challenging time for businesses, our retail stores are safely welcoming shoppers back and taking the necessary steps to drive economic recovery.By putting a stop to unreasonable evictions, these measures will protect jobs and provide further flexibility to our high street businesses that were trading successfully before the COVID-19 emergency, so they can focus on continuing to deliver for their customers and communities.”

This Code will help landlords and tenants work together to lessen the impacts of economic recovery after the coronavirus lockdown. As thousands of businesses face an enormous threat due to the ongoing pandemic, the Code is a first step to improving communication and transparency between retailers and their landlords to ensure businesses can bounce back after this difficult time.

Details on the code of practice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-for-the-commercial-property-sector

 

About the Author

Latifa Yedroudj

Latifa Yedroudj

Latifa Yedroudj has joined the Elite team to fully immerse herself in the business side of journalism, a strong passion of hers cultivated from young having co-run her mother's start up business since she was 18. Her interests lie in a wide range of subjects, including start ups, business, travel, and anything entrepreneurial she can get her hands on. She has worked for some of the biggest names in journalism including The Guardian and The Mirror. Follow her on @latifayed on Twitter for her latest journo rants.

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