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The UK government have extended measures until the end of September, to prevent struggling companies from eviction.

This comes alongside further support for local businesses to help with economic recovery after the coronavirus outbreak.

A new code of practice has been created by the retail, hospitality and property sectors to provide clarity for business when discussing rental payments and to help encourage best practice so all parties involved are supported. This will run alongside the comprehensive financial package provided by the government, as the strain of the sector becomes apparent.

Tenants will be encouraged to pay their rent in full if they are in a stable position to do so and advises that others should pay what they can. Landlords are also encouraged to provide support to businesses if they are also in a position to do so.

The code is voluntary for businesses and is relevant to all commercial leases held by businesses in any sector that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Suspension of the forfeiture of evictions will come as relief to many struggling businesses in particular pubs, cafes and restaurants, after the hospitality sector called for this to be actioned.

Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

“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.”

“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.”

The code will encourage both tenants and landlords to be transparent with their discussions and to act reasonably and responsibly.

The government have confirmed the following changes to the existing package of measures for the commercial sector:

  • The Coronavirus Act will be amended to extend the time period for the suspension of the forfeiture of evictions from June 30 till September 30, meaning if a business misses a payment in the next three months they can not be forced out of their premises.
  • They will lay a secondary legislation to prevent landlords using the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery unless they are owed 189 unpaid rent. The time period for this measure will be extended from June 30th till September 30th.
  • The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill amendment has been tabled, this will extend the temporary ban of using statutory demands and winding-up petitions where a company can’t pay bills due to the coronavirus pandemic until September 30th.

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