Government to stop 'aggressive rent collection' against coronavirus hit businesses

Government to stop 'aggressive rent collection' against coronavirus hit businesses
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Fri 24th Apr 2020

New rules preventing landlords from putting pressure on businesses that can't pay their rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic are to be introduced.

The government said most landlords and tenants are working well together to reach agreements on debts, but some are using agressive tactics to recover unpaid bills.

As a result, the use of statutory demands (made between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020) and winding up petitions (presented from 27 April 2020 - 30 June 2020) where a company cannot pay due to coronavirus will be temporarily banned.

Included in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill, the legislation will stop landlords using the demands unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.

Business secretary Alok Sharma, said: "I know that like all businesses [landlords] 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."

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, added: "Many businesses in our sector have no revenue whatsoever coming in, so paying rents has been out of the question for some.

"This extra space will allow businesses to survive and to find a way to work with landlords. If social distancing measures are to be in place for some time, as we now believe they will, this measure may need to be extended to ensure that businesses can survive."

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said the government recognised that landlords face serious pressures too so urged tenants to pay rent where they can.

"We are working with banks and investors to seek ways to address these issues and guide the whole sector through the pandemic," he added.

In a call with the small business minister Paul Scully, Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones suggested that the government extend grants for companies paying business rates to other firms including co-working spaces and their tenants.

The government has already announced a moratorium on evictions for commercial tenants for at least three months.

The latest coronavirus support information

We are keeping you updated on the latest information on how to access the government's coronavirus business support here. You can also find advice and ask a question on Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

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