Commercial landlords will now be unable to evict their tenants until March 2022 following the latest government announcement. The government will extend the ban for another 12 months from the end of June, but experts say the ban will affect small-scale commercial landlords the most. That’s because large-scale commercial tenants are most likely to operate professionally and follow the government’s Code of Practice on rent arrears, whereas many small commercial tenant businesses are not.
Despite government assurances that the new legislation will help landlords as well as tenants, in practice, long-drawn-out negotiations or enforced arbitration are more likely to harm the smaller commercial landlords. Even before this latest extension, The British Property Federation (BPF) was calling for its cancellation, arguing that town centre recovery was needlessly being put at risk because of a small group of recalcitrant and mainly smaller commercial tenants.
Commercial property owners and their tenants have reached agreement on 77% of all rent owed since March 2020, according to the BPF. But its recent study revealed that around 14% of commercial tenants are simply refusing to engage with their landlords over rent arrears, even though many of them are running well-capitalized businesses that have traded throughout the pandemic. The BPF says that this is putting the recovery of the High Street at risk.