Relief for small firms as rent moratorium runs until 2022

THE FEDERATION of Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed the extension to a moratorium on commercial tenant evictions in England until March 25 next year.

FSB national chair Mike Cherry said the news would come as “a big relief” for small business tenants struggling with recent disruption.

“In many cases, they were two weeks away from facing legal proceedings for rent they could not afford, for premises that have been shut,” he said. “Many will have had no opportunity to raise any revenue, as they have been unable to use their premises for a prolonged period.”

Cherry said the extension “for a meaningful amount of time” would allow some breathing room for small firms to embark on negotiations with their landlords, rather than worrying about possible court cases.

“Landlords should now join these discussions, rather than simply waiting to launch a legal bid for 100 percent of rent for the whole period,” he said.

How the UK government designs the binding mediation system for arrears was key, he said. “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 in business rates support.”