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The government has announced that there will be an extension to the moratorium on commercial tenant evictions in England until 25 March 2022 and mediation introduced.
Discussing the news, FSB National Chair Mike Cherry said, "This announcement will be a big relief for many anxious small business tenants who have been dealing with a huge amount of disruption over the last 15 months. In many cases they were two weeks away from facing legal proceedings for rent they could not afford, for premises that have been shut. Many will have had no opportunity to raise any revenue, as they have been unable to use their premises for a prolonged period.
"We're pleased to see the moratorium will be extended for a meaningful amount of time, allowing more breathing room for small firms to embark on negotiations with their landlords, rather than worrying about it ending up in court. The clear signal from today is that landlords should now join these discussions, rather than simply waiting to launch a legal bid for 100% of rent for the whole period."
Action on encouraging negotiations about historic rent arrears between landlords and small business tenants is much needed. The next step is key, which is how the Government will design the binding mediation system for historic arrears. This 'back-stop' system is focused on businesses that have been forcibly closed, which does not include the supply chain. This means that the Government must move forward with the plans for £1.5bn of business rates support for this group."We hope these changes will all help to incentivise landlords to enter into positive negotiations with their tenants."