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Government confirms lease forfeiture moratorium for commercial businesses

Published:  23 March, 2020

The government has confirmed that it has extended the residential moratorium on lease forfeiture and debt enforcement to commercial leases.

At the moment this applies to rent only so not service charge, insurance and other landlord-charged costs, with the government having made the provision for a three-month moratorium.

The extension to commercial businesses, which will prevent landlords taking control of premises in the event of non-payment of rents, follows the hospitality industry reiterating the urgency of such measure since the government’s emergency legislation last week preventing residential landlords from evicting tenants for at least a three month period. 

Welcoming the news, UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said in a tweet: “Positive news - Govt has confirmed it has extended the moratorium on lease forfeiture and debt enforcement to commercial leases - eases the pressure cooker of quarter rent day and allows us to focus all available cash on supporting our teams.

Valuable pause to allow sensible discussions about realistic payment going forward and when it is feasible to resume. Hope landlord companies are pragmatic and responsible. Govt also reminds all biz that lending is available to get through short term hiatus.” 

The extension, which comes ahead of the quarterly rent payment due this Wednesday (25 March), will provide much needed breathing space for businesses forced to close following government emergency measures.

The extension would make an “enormous difference to so many business owners, saving countless jobs and livelihoods”, said London Union co-founder Jonathan Downey, who has been been driving the campaign alongside UK Hospitality. 

“It gives us all breathing space to negotiate a way forward with our landlords. It’s a cease fire to agree the peace. It gives tenants leverage to secure better deals. It’s great news and it may yet be extended.”