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Rent reprieve for occupiers of commercial premises

For occupants of business premises these are testing times. With a mandatory requirement for many businesses to close, many tenants no longer have a regular income from which to pay their staff or bills.

Fortunately, the government has stepped in with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which allows employers to continue paying employees who are no longer working for the business. The money paid to an employee under this scheme can be recovered up to the lower of £2,500 or 80% of that persons regular income.

Rates have also been reviewed, with a rates holiday for the 2020/21 tax year and grants to be paid to small qualifying businesses of £10,000.

For businesses which occupy business premises in the retail, hospitality, or leisure sectors with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 a grant of £25,000 will be provided.

While the government has stepped in to assist business owners with wages and rates, rental payments are a cost which many tenants may not be able to afford in the current climate.

While many landlords have voluntarily entered into negotiations with their tenants regarding rent  holidays, the government have stepped in to protect all tenants currently occupying business premises.

These measures ensure no business can be forced out of their premises if they miss a rent payment in the next 3 months.

It is important to note that the tenant will still be liable for the rent, which will have to be paid in due course. However, this legislation should ease the cashflow worries of many tenants up and down the country.

These rules will last until 30 June, with the possibility that it may be extended if the current Coronavirus Pandemic continues past that date.


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