The UK government has extended the ban on commercial evictions until 25 March 2022
The move was announced today (15 June) by chief secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay
The moratorium was set to come to an end on 30 June
ukactive had called for an extension to the moratorium earlier this week
The UK government has extended the ban on commercial evictions until 25 March 2022.
Announcing the move today (15 June), chief secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay, also confirmed that the government will lay legislation confirming the terms of binding arbitration for landlords and tenants unable to reach agreement for repayment terms.
Introduced during the pandemic, the moratorium on forfeiture of commercial leases for non-payment of rent was introduced to protect businesses that faced no income during lockdowns.
It has provided much-needed security to health clubs, gyms and fitness studios.
The moratorium was set to come to an end on 30 June, which had caused alarm among fitness and physical activity businesses, as they continue to face restrictions on operations.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that businesses in England would need to operate a further four weeks at reduced capacity as a result of a delay in the country moving to Step 4 – the final easing of lockdown measures, meaning group exercise faces further restrictions.
The delay in the lifting of the moratorium has resulted in a collective sigh of relief across the fitness industry.
Among those to welcome the decision was industry body, ukactive.
Huw Edwards, ukactive CEO, said: "We welcome the direction of travel from the government on rent, with the announcement of an extension on the moratorium of eviction for commercial rent arrears in England, and a commitment to introduce legislation for binding arbitration between landlords and tenants.
“While we await the full details, we are pleased the Government has responded to our submission on rent, providing breathing space from this immediate pressure for thousands of private operators as they work their way out of the crisis.
“However, to ensure our sector’s recovery the Government must commit to a full package of support for our sector, given how hard it has been hit by the pandemic – suffering eight months of closure through lockdown at a cost of £90m in lost revenue per week, and 121 days of suppressed trading since 25 July 2020.
“We will continue to work towards a positive resolution on business rates, the extension of furlough support, VAT relief for our sector, and phase two of the National Leisure Recovery Fund which is urgently needed by public sector operators.
“A strong fitness and leisure sector is essential for our national renewal as it drives business growth, creates jobs and innovation on the high street, and improves the nation’s health and wellbeing.”
To read what industry leaders are saying about rent and the moratorium, click here for HCM Issue 2/2021.