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Hospitality industry reiterates urgency of lease forfeiture moratorium

Published:  23 March, 2020

The hospitality industry has reiterated the urgency of the implementation of a six-month lease forfeiture moratorium for commercial businesses to prevent landlords taking control of premises in the event of non-payment of rents. 

The industry reiterated the urgency of this measure being taken following the government’s emergency legislation last week preventing landlords from evicting tenants for at least a three month period, calling for similar action for commercial businesses.

The calls for the moratorium, which would allow breathing space for businesses forced to close, come ahead of the quarterly rent payment due this Wednesday (25 March).

A lease forfeiture moratorium for commercial businesses was “vital for cashflow to save businesses and jobs”, said Jonathan Downey, co-founder of London Union - parent company of Street Feast. 

“Without this moratorium many more jobs will be lost. If locks are changed and premises repossessed, businesses will fail and there will be no employer left to pay over the 80%,” he said. 

Nothing was more important than this right now, he added. 

“We have to see something in the next few days. Now that we’ve been told we can’t open, we must be given two rent quarter protection from opportunistic landlords.”

While welcoming the government’s support package announced last week, UK Hospitality also stressed the need for action in relation to business rent.

“The generous package will support our fantastic staff, is very welcome and additionally gives hope to those who have been laid off. This may have saved up to 1 million jobs, but we need it as soon as possible to ensure we can continue to trade,” said chief executive Kate Nicholls. 


“While VAT deferrals preserve some cash, we still face rent payments this week before the support is due to arrive. Banks and landlords need to do more to help us bridge the gap towards this generous government support.


“Damage is being done now, so we need help now.”