UKHospitality has welcomed the publication of the Government’s call for evidence on commercial rent debts as an important step forward in attempts to address commercial rent debts accumulated by hospitality tenants during COVID lockdown and restrictions.
The call for evidence sets out six options, ranging from simply allowing existing tenant protections to cease to a more targeted level of support to having binding adjudications. Commenting on the publication, UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls commented: “It is very positive that Government has finally appreciated the need to consider additional measures in the commercial lease market.
“After a year of lockdown and restrictions rent debt in the hospitality sector has topped £2 billion and businesses still face months without being able to trade profitably. This level of debt simply cannot be paid off in the short-term. There must be sustained and targeted support to allow tenants and landlords to reach agreement. This must include measures from landlords to write off a level of Covid-related debt.
“It is encouraging that Government has recognised that uncertainty over reopening dates has made it almost impossible to find agreement, and even after reopening it will take time for businesses in sectors like hospitality to return to pre-pandemic trading levels. As Government has recognised it will take longer for our sector to adjust and that is why ongoing protection is needed. All businesses will hope to reach an amicable agreement with their landlords but as the document highlights the risk of failure to do so is further economic harm, leading to higher unemployment.
“We will engage actively with our members and Government on a response ahead of the deadline on 4th May.”
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Hospitality & Catering News: UKHospitality welcomes Government call for evidence on Covid commercial rent debts. – 7 April 2021 – UKHospitality welcomes Government call for evidence on Covid commercial rent debts.