Moratorium for business tenants extended until March 2022
A MORITORIUM introduced to protect business tenants struggling to pay rent during the pandemic has been extended until March 2022.
Finance Minister Conor Murphy originally inserted the provision into the Coronavirus Act 2020 in March 2020, preventing landlords from treating a lease as forfeit due to non-payment.
Initially due to last for three months, the protective measure has been extended in tandem with similar legal moves in England and Wales.
The latest extension by Stormont means the special protection period will now span 24 months, ending March 25 2022.
Mr Murphy said it will provide stability and certainty for businesses trying to recover from the impact of Covid-19.
“We have been engaging with key stakeholders in relation to this and I fully recognise the genuine concerns in relation to the difficult financial situation businesses are facing,” he said.
“The reality is it will take some time for economic recovery and this moratorium is one of the measures that will help ease businesses back into full operation and deal with their financial challenges.
“This extension provides time for landlords and tenants to work together to resolve matters that have arisen over rent arrears accrued during lockdown restrictions. Wherever possible, tenants should of course pay rent,” said the minister.
“I will continue to engage with my colleagues in the other devolved administrations in order to consider what, if any, further measures in relation to commercial rent arrears accrued during the pandemic need to be put in place once the moratorium comes to an end.”