This call for evidence will support the government’s decision making on the best way to withdraw or replace these measures while preserving tenant businesses and the millions of jobs that they support.
If there is evidence that productive discussions between landlords and tenants are not taking place, and that this represents a substantial and ongoing threat to jobs and livelihoods, the government will not hesitate to intervene further.
The measures which are the subject of this call for evidence are:
- the moratorium on commercial lease evictions established by section 82 of the Coronavirus Act 2020; and
- the restrictions on the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) established by the the Taking Control of Goods (Amendment)(Coronavirus) Regulations 2021.
In addition, these measures are complemented by the restrictions on the use of winding-up petitions and statutory demands established by section 41(1)(b) of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 which applies economy-wide. The content of these restrictions is not being considered here, however we are interested in the length of time for which these measures should be in place and how they relate to the other measures.
The government’s objective is to gather more evidence to understand how landlords and tenants are responding to the build-up of rent arrears that has occurred as a result of businesses being unable to trade normally during the pandemic. This will inform a better understanding of the risk to economic recovery posed by remaining rent debts, and to understand how landlords and tenants are adjusting existing lease terms to reflect the period of recovery that many tenant businesses will need once the trading restrictions are lifted. The evidence gathered will inform government policy regarding the exit from the existing measures and any need for additional measures to preserve viable businesses and the jobs that they provide.
The government seeks views from businesses; business representative organisations; commercial landlords, lenders, and investors and their representative organisations; commercial property professionals; and anyone with an interest in or connection to the commercial property market in England. The government is particularly interested in the views of small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) including small commercial landlords, independent businesses and sole traders with leased premises.
Deadline: 11:45pm on 4 May 2021.
For more information and to complete the survey, click here.