The government has announced the introduction of temporary new measures to protect commercial tenants on UK high streets from aggressive rent collection and closure during the Coronavirus pandemic.

These measures will see statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants to be temporarily voided. There will also be changes made to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery, building on measures already introduced in the Coronavirus Act. Existing measures include a moratorium on commercial landlord evictions for at least three months that was announced in late March.

The government is encouraging landlords and investors to work collaboratively with high street businesses unable to pay their bills during COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, this is happening, but some landlords have been using aggressive tactics to recover rent due.

These measures will help to safeguard the high street and millions of jobs by protecting businesses from permanent closure during this time. However, while landlords are urged to give their tenants the breathing space needed, the government is also calling on tenants to pay rent where they can afford it or to pay what they can in recognition of the strains also felt by commercial landlords.

The new legislation to protect tenants will be in force until 30 June 2020 and can be extended in line with the moratorium on commercial lease forfeiture.

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