October 25, 2021


Shopping Works Wonders

Relief for retail as government extends rent moratorium

The hire moratorium for shops has been prolonged till 25 March 2022 in the wake of “liberty working day” – the lifting of all remaining coronavirus lockdown restrictions – remaining pushed again by a thirty day period to 19 July, the authorities introduced these days (sixteen June).

The moratorium was introduced on 26 March 2020 to give retail tenants safety from “aggressive” actions by landlords, such as eviction or seizure of inventory all through the pandemic, and was later on prolonged till 30 June 2021.

The authorities also explained it will introduce laws when the present-day extension ends “to build a backstop so that where by professional negotiations concerning tenants and landlords are not profitable, they go into binding arbitration” .

The go was welcomed by most shops but house authorities predicted landlords would be “seething” at the decision.

“This is a very welcome announcement, addressing an concern of very important great importance in the nick of time,” explained Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium. “We will be looking carefully at the specifics, but welcome the continued assist presented by authorities to companies.

“Just as shops feared a wave of legal action by landlords, the authorities has stepped in to offer each landlords and tenants far more time to negotiate. The last fifteen months have seen prolonged durations of pressured closure for shops, avoiding numerous from building the turnover wanted to deal with rents. Vendors have to have time to trade their way out of debt this announcement does just that. We’re also pleased to see the authorities adopt our proposal for binding arbitration where by agreements concerning get-togethers can’t be arrived at.”

The controlling director of 1 garments multiple also welcomed the go: “An extension [and binding arbitration period] will massively enable shops. It would have been harmful to just acquire the shackles off and leave no safety for landlords chasing hire arrears.”

A multiple garments retailer, nonetheless, disagreed: “We have managed to agree a compromise with our landlords for the most component. Even so, landlords are companies as well that have to have to get again to business.”

Residence authorities were being furious about the decision.

Mark Williams, director at retail asset supervisor Rivington Hark, told Drapers: “There is absolutely no ethical rationale for extending the moratorium till March. We are out of lockdown and there have been occupiers that have been buying and selling through the period. It is simply just kicking the concern down the highway for yet another nine months.

“I was not expecting there to be an extension, but I was expecting there to be some type of treatment to solution historic debt. This is past what even shops were being inquiring for.”

Jonathan De Mello, fairness companion at retail house adviser CWM, agreed: “It is stunning. It is a very long period of time for landlords to endure, and numerous of them are relying on that rental profits. There is no recourse in conditions of landlords having consideration or assist to see them by this. Landlords are going to be seething over this and I really do not blame them.”

He explained that arbitration will “help”, but “it has arrive very late in the working day”.

Duncan Lillie, companion at profession expert services agency Shelley Sandzer, explained: “The government’s decision to increase the moratorium till 25 March upcoming year is anything at all but beneficial. It not only defers the issue to yet another working day, it in fact would make the place even worse for people landlords and operators that have nevertheless to reach an agreement.

“Now far more than ever, landlords and tenants have to have to interact in meaningful conversations if they have not previously carried out so as they are evidently not going to get any enable from the authorities. Collaboration, co-procedure and interaction, the three tenets we proposed twelve months back, keep on being crucial to reaching balanced outcomes that are as a near to a get-get for all get-togethers as attainable.”

Steve Barclay, chief secretary to the treasury, explained the go “strikes the proper balance concerning shielding landlords and supporting people companies that are most in need” and “sets out a very long-expression solution to the resolution to Covid-19 hire”.


The Coronavirus Act 2020, which arrived into drive on 26 March, suspended the legal rights of professional house owners to acquire enforcement action on their tenants if they failed to fulfill the conditions of their lease – for illustration, by not paying hire.