The moratorium on commercial property evictions based on arrears of rent has now been extended to 25 March 2022. Ahead of this decision by the government the British Property Federation (BPF) had published data regarding the payment of rent during the moratorium. According to the BPF data out of 16,230 retail, hospitality and leisure leased properties across the UK –
- 50% of rent owed since March 2020 has been paid;
- Agreements, including rent payment plans, rent holiday and rent deferrals have been reached between landlords and tenants on a further 27% of rents;
- 23% of rents owed since March 2020 remain unresolved;
- 14% of tenants who are well capitalised and traded throughout the pandemic are unwilling to collaborate with their landlord to reach agreement in relation to rent arrears and are not adhering to the government’s code of practice.
Based on the above data the BPF had urged government not to extend the moratorium beyond 30 June 2021. The BPF says that the lifting of the moratorium is required to prevent bad behaviour amongst a small minority, to assist small property owners with their income stream and to encourage investment town centre recovery. However, the moratorium has now been extended once more, although it has also been announced that a binding arbitration scheme to resolve disputes between landlords and commercial tenants will be put in place when the moratorium comes to an end.