The ban on commercial evictions introduced during the pandemic is set to be extended until 2022, The Telegraph has learned.
Ministers are expected to announce on Wednesday that the grace period for business tenants will continue for at least another six months, pushing back the planned expiry at the end of this month.
Restrictions on landlords using laws that allow them to recover rent arrears by taking control of a tenant’s goods and selling them are also expected to be extended.
A new arbitration mechanism will be introduced in legislation to help landlords and commercial tenants resolve disputes over bad debt, it is understood.
It comes after Boris Johnson announced this week that he would delay lifting most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions until July 19. He warned that he could not give a “cast-iron guarantee” the measures will not continue beyond that “terminus”.
Hospitality businesses such as pubs, bars and restaurants are among those hardest hit by the final tranche of measures that remain in place, including social distancing rules and the ban on ordering drinks at the bar.
A Treasury minister is expected to make the announcement Wednesday on the extension to the moratorium on commercial evictions during an oral update on the economy.
It is set to provoke a sigh of relief among struggling businesses who have been unable to negotiate rent holidays and deferrals with their landlords, and feared being thrown out of their properties once the protections end.
However, the move may provoke frustration among those commercial landlords who have complained about some tenants making profits while refusing to pay rent.
The decision follows a Government call for evidence, launched in April, about the best way to withdraw or replace these protections in place for businesses, in order to support the millions of jobs that they underscore.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government warned then: “If there is evidence that productive discussions between landlords and tenants are not taking place, and that this represents a substantial and ongoing threat to jobs and livelihoods, the Government will not hesitate to intervene further.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We’re considering responses to a recent call for evidence on the next steps with commercial rent and we’ll set our response shortly.”
Previous extensions to the moratorium on commercial evictions were welcomed by UKHospitality and the British Retail Consortium, which said the ban provided “much needed breathing space” for precarious businesses hit hard by coronavirus and Government restrictions.