Scotland extends rent moratorium

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Scotland extends rent protections lease irritation moratorium rent debt hospitality

Related tags: Rent arrears, Coronavirus, lockdown

The Scottish Government has extended its rent irritation moratorium for a further six months until the end of September.

The protection is broadly similar to the lease forfeiture moratorium active in England and Wales, which prevents landlords from repossessing commercial premises if businesses are unable to pay their rent as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In England and Wales, the moratorium has already been extended, respectively, by three months until the end of June - meaning commercial businesses in Scotland will benefit from an extended three months of protection from eviction. 

Willie Macleod, executive director of UKHospitality Scotland, welcomed the news. 

He said: “This is a helpful and pragmatic move by the Scottish Government. After the moratorium was extended in England and Wales, it was absolutely right that Scotland followed suit.

"We are grateful that it has gone even further and been extended for an additional six months.

“As with the rest of the UK, rent debt for Scottish hospitality businesses has spiralled to frightening levels. It has become a huge burden that threatens the immediate survival and the chances of growth for businesses.

"Extending the moratorium was necessary to give businesses breathing room and stay alive for the forthcoming reopening."

Last week when confirming the extension of the rent protections in England, the UK Government in Westminster announced that it was to launch a call for evidence on commercial rents​ to help monitor the overall progress of negotiations between tenants and landlords.

The call for evidence will set out potential steps the Government could take after the moratorium ends, ranging from a phased withdrawal of current protections to legislative options targeted at those businesses most impacted by Covid-19.

"The UK Government’s call for evidence must find an equitable solution that brings landlords to the table and shares out this burden fairly – and it must consider measures that also apply in Scotland," Macleod added.

"This burden is the result of a once-in-a-lifetime crisis and hospitality cannot be expected to shoulder it alone.”

Related topics: Legislation

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