Ministers have moved to protect tenants from aggressive winding up orders and statutory demands, and also give them more breathing space during the pandemic.
New legislation is to be introduced to stop heavy-handed commercial landlords putting pressure on high street tenants who can’t pay their rent during the pandemic.
In a move which aims to prevent aggressive debt recovery and protect high street jobs, landlords won’t be able to send their tenants statutory demands and winding up petitions until at least 30th June – as part of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill.
Tenants will also get more breathing space to pay rent as landlords now can’t use Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.
The Government says most landlords and tenants are working well together to reach agreements on debt obligations, but that some landlords have been putting tenants under undue pressure by using aggressive debt recovery tactics.
But the government is also calling on tenants to pay rent where they can, and to recognise the strain felt by commercial landlords.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma says it’s vital that businesses are kept afloat so they can continue to provide jobs the economy needs beyond the coronavirus pandemic.
He says: “Our unprecedented package of support can help commercial landlords, including through the recent expansion of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme.”
Adds Sharma: “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.”