British Property Federation response to Government’s U-turn on commercial property moratorium

The Government has announced that it has extended the commercial property moratorium for another three months until June 2021, after having confirmed in December 2020 that the moratorium would end in March 2021. The Government’s full release can be found here.

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation comments:


“The Government has acknowledged that the majority of tenants and property owners are working well together – with tenants being transparent about their finances, and property owners supporting those in distress with emergency relief and new, longer-term rent payment arrangements. New, stronger relationships have been built through this process. Nevertheless, there is a minority where relationships have broken down and become toxic, and the continuation of the moratorium will do nothing to unlock the stalemate and allow the market to re-set and recover.

“With further rates relief and new grants, and a clear plan for re-opening, high streets businesses should be confident in approaching their property owners to forge an economic partnership in which they can agree how to manage rental debt fairly. Rational property owners want their tenants to thrive – empty properties generate no income and are a blight on our high streets.

“As they prepare to re-open, in premises which property owners and their agents have kept safe and well-maintained, the scandal of those well-capitalised businesses who can pay rent, but have chosen not to, cannot be allowed to continue. Their behaviour has raided our nation’s pensions and savings invested in commercial property, and has been a heavy blow for already stretched local authority landlords and public finances.”

Call for evidence

“The Government’s call for evidence is a year too late. Alongside the independent data published quarterly, we have already provided extensive evidence of the way in which property owners are supporting their tenants and creating new sustainable partnerships which work for both parties. We await further details on what more is required – and on how the Government proposes to ensure that the local authorities, pensions and savings funds invested in commercial property are finally able to see light at the end of the tunnel after a year with little or no income.”