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HELP WITH COMMERCIAL RENTS AND BUSINESS RATES

EXTRA HELP AVAILABLE FOR SMALL AND PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE BUSINESSES

If you have any questions, please get in touch with our COVID-19 Task Force here


Relevant as of 1:00PM 5 January 2021
Rent

The Government has taken steps to support commercial tenants who remain concerned about eviction from their business premises. We know this will be a particular concern for businesses who have been told to close by the government.

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus are now protected from eviction.  The measures mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment. This measure has been extended from 30 June 2020 to 30 September 2020. The tenant will remain liable for the rent though and so will need to remain in dialogue with their landlord.

Landlords and investors were asked to work collaboratively with tenants to find a solution through the pandemic. Despite this, there have been widespread reports of some landlords putting tenants under pressure by using alternative debt recovery tactics.

To address this, the Government has announced that it will introduce temporary measures to:

  • Ban the use of statutory demands and winding up orders where a company cannot pay their rent due to coronavirus
  • Prevent landlords using the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery process unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.
Rates

There are other ways the government is helping out businesses with financial support that they won’t need to repay.

The government have announced that the planned revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021.  This is welcome news for many businesses where the revaluation may have resulted in increased business rates. Of course, this is subject, to property valuations in the current environment which are no doubt going to be impacted.

Those of you based in England and operating in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries won’t pay business rates for 2020/21. This will broadly apply to properties in England that are occupied:

  • As shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • For assembly and leisure
  • As hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

There’s nothing for you to do to get this relief – your local authority will deal with it for you. You can read the guidance they have been given here.

Grants

Top Up Grants

Following the announcement of a third National lockdown on 4 January, the Chancellor has announced that £4.6 billion is being made available to pay “top up grants” to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

The one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

You can read more information here.

Other Funding for Businesses

Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations will receive an additional £594 million, which they can use to support businesses not eligible for other grants mentioned above or below. Get in touch with your Local Authority to see how you may be eligible to receive some of this money.

Previous grants that were available before the national lockdown are detailed below. It is worth checking with your Local Authority that your business has claimed everything it is entitled to have claimed.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) was made available in November. You can read more about the ARG here.

For businesses in the same industries mentioned above, grants were available as follows:

  • £25,000 per property with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000
  • £10,000 per property with a rateable value of under £15,000

In addition, businesses in any industry that pay little or no business rates could also be given a grant of £10,000. This applies to businesses already claiming small business rate relief, rural rate relief or tapered relief.

Separate to this, businesses required to close for at least 3 weeks from 9 September due to local restrictions, may be eligible for further support. Grants of £1,000 or £1,500 depending on the rateable value of the property, could be available per 3-week period of closure. All of these grants are taxable.

What if I run a children’s nursery?

Properties that are occupied by providers of Ofsted’s Early Years Registration or are wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage will get a business rates holiday for the 2020/21 tax year.  Again, if you qualify this will be applied automatically by your local authority so there is nothing you need to do to get this help.

You can estimate what this will save you by using the Government’s business rates calculator.  In addition, you can see the guidance issued to Local Authorities here.

And don’t forget….

The above measures are in addition to those that have already been announced, which includes:

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