High Street shops to be protected from aggressive rent collection and asked to ‘pay what they can’
High street shops and other companies under strain will be protected from aggressive rent collection and asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic, the Business Secretary has pledged.
Alok Sharma said while the majority of landlords and tenants are working well together to reach agreements on debt obligations, some landlords have been putting tenants under undue pressure by using aggressive debt recovery tactics.
To stop these unfair practices, the government will temporarily ban the use of statutory demands and winding up orders where a company cannot pay their bills due to coronavirus, to ensure they do not fall into deeper financial strain.
The government is also laying secondary legislation to provide tenants with more breathing space to pay rent by preventing landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.
This will further safeguard the high street and millions of jobs by helping to protect them from permanent closure during this time. However, while landlords are urged to give their tenants the breathing space needed, the government calls on tenants to pay rent where they can afford it or what they can in recognition of the strains felt by commercial landlords too.
Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, said: “I know that like all businesses they are under pressure, but I would urge them to show forbearance to their tenants. I am also taking steps to ensure the minority of landlords using aggressive tactics to collect their rents can no longer do so while the COVID-19 emergency continues.”