CBI urges gov’t to extend rent moratorium for struggling retailers

CBI rents
The lobby group said the government should let the commercial evictions ban expire on June 30
// The Confederation of British Industry urged the government to extend the moratorium on commercial evictions
// The group said the government should let the commercial evictions ban expire on June 30

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called on the government to extend the moratorium on commercial evictions for businesses below 30 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

The lobby group said the government should let the commercial evictions ban expire on June 30.

It also called to extend targeted support for businesses in sectors like hospitality and theatres until the end of the year.


READ MORE: UK retail rent collection fails to improve, new research shows


However, by basing any extension on the basis of lost revenue rather than sector, the CBI said businesses supplying those struggling companies will also be helped.

Meanwhile, unpaid commercial rents accrued up until June 30 should be ringfenced and “negotiated separately between occupiers and landlords”.

The group also urged the government to “set out principles for binding arbitration on rent debt” and to “ensure there is a mechanism to deliver decisions where negotiations fail or businesses refrain from negotiating”.

“With the success of the UK’s vaccine programme, a watchful easing of social restrictions and business confidence growing, now is the time to optimise commercial property interventions towards getting all parts of the economy back to business,” CBI chief UK policy director Matthew Fell said.

“The blanket government protections for non-payment of commercial rents should be lifted. While some sectors remain heavily restricted or fully closed, ongoing protections should be targeted towards the firms most at risk in these sectors.

“The conversation about commercial rent debt needs to be dealt with separately. There is a huge deficit in unpaid commercial rents, which both tenants and landlords acknowledge is unlikely to be fully recovered.

“The majority of tenants and landlords have already come together for adult-to-adult conversations to settle commercial rent arrears; those businesses yet to enter into negotiations should now do so and work hard to reach an agreement, or risk court decisions that may be less favourable.”

Click here to sign up to Retail Gazette’s free daily email newsletter

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here