Government to publish code of practice for commercial sector
Code of practice

Government to publish code of practice for commercial sector

The government is working with leading business and trade associations to publish a code of practice to support high street businesses.

A working group with the commercial rental sector will develop a code which encourages discussions between landlords and tenants over rental payments during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will offer guidance on rent arrears payments and treatment of sub-letters and suppliers.

This is intended to help ensure no one part of the sector shoulders the full burden of payment.

The group will seek to involve wider business input through its sector members to foster a greater share of views.

Robert Jenrick, communities secretary, said: “We are developing a new code of practice, working alongside the industry’s leading bodies, to provide that clarity and reassurance to both commercial tenants and their landlords in recognition of the challenges they are facing as a result of coronavirus.”

Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, added: “The government is committed to supporting the commercial rental sector as it deals with the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

“We continue to work with lenders to ensure flexible support is provided to commercial landlords, including payment holidays and restructuring facilities, and it is right that where landlords receive support, they extend this to their tenants.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the British Retail Consortium, stated: “Rent demands are increasingly out of kilter with current property values, and many retailers are being forced to pay rent on closed stores.”

Melanie Leech, chief executive at British Property Federation, said: “Coronavirus is placing an unprecedented strain on property owners and the businesses who occupy their buildings, and we need a united approach in response.
“The majority of property owners and tenants are already working well together, effectively engaging and agreeing sustainable plans, and we welcome the opportunity to work with government and others to codify this good practice.”

Kate Nicholls, CEO at UK Hospitality, added: “Hospitality businesses have seen revenues all but dry up since March, so government intervention is desperately needed, with a sustainable financial plan in place.”

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