Fears for ‘mass wave’ of commercial evictions after 30th June deadline
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction – the moratorium is only in place until 30th June. Business organisations fear there culd be mass evictions after that date for those businesses unable to pay rent, due to Covid, and that the deadline – only three months away – is simply prolonging the inevitable for some retailers.
Landlords and tenants are having conversations and reaching voluntary arrangements about rental payments that are due but the government recognises businesses struggling with their cashflow due to coronavirus remain worried about eviction.
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction, says the government’s NI Direct website. “These measures mean no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment. The special provision in the Coronavirus Act 2020 which protects businesses unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic until until 30 June 2021.
“This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. Commercial tenants are protected from eviction if they are unable to pay rent. All commercial tenants in Northern Ireland are eligible.
Code of practice
Landlords and commercial tenants are encouraged to work togetehr to avoid evictions and establish arrears solutions. In addition the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has also published a Coronavirus: Code of practice for the commercial property sector that encourages tenants and landlords to work together to protect viable businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Business support schemes
Economy Minister Diane Dodds announced that payments will be extended under two business support schemes – but the deadline is 31st March.
Payments to eligible businesses under the Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme (CRBSS), Part A and Part B, and the Large Hospitality and Tourism Business Support Scheme (LHTBSS) will continue beyond 31 March.
The CRBSS will close to new applications at 6pm on Wednesday 31 March. Businesses that have already applied need not submit another application.
Top up payments
A top-up payment will automatically be issued to eligible businesses under both schemes in line with ongoing restrictions. Further top-up payments will be made as appropriate.
“Businesses that have been deemed eligible for support under these schemes need take no action – further payments will issue automatically.”
Regarding the closure of the CRBSS to new applications on March 31, the Minister added: “New applications to the CRBSS have tailed off significantly and I am therefore satisfied that the vast majority of eligible businesses have accessed the scheme.
“I urge any remaining business owners who have not applied, and believe their business may be eligible for support under the CRBSS, to check the criteria and submit an application via the nibusinessinfo website before the deadline.”
Full details of all business support and advice, and how to apply for support, are available on the nibusinessinfo website at http://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/coronaviru