UKHospitality (UKH) has written to the government warning that failure to immediately act to solve the rent crisis will result in a ‘‘bloodbath’’ of job losses and business failures.
Hospitality businesses have been shielded from eviction over the last six months through the lease forfeiture and debt enforcement moratoria, which ends on 1 October.
In a letter, addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Housing, UKH called on the government to extend the moratora until March 2021, ensure County Court judgements are prohibited for rent debt and work with landlord bodies on levers to encourage negotiations.
According to The Financial Times, government officials are examining how they can prolong the existing eviction ban until the end of the year.
UKH’s chief executive Kate Nicholls said: ‘‘The rent crisis, with the September quarterly rent day fast approaching, is the biggest threat to the recovery and future of hospitality.
‘‘The sector has enjoyed a much-needed boost through August with the successful Eat Out to Help Out scheme which brought people back into our venues to enjoy the pleasure of eating and drinking out.’’
She added: ‘‘But a huge economic shadow hangs over the sector; as things stand, later this month, many businesses will not be able to pay rent that is due. Landlords will be able to take back the keys and thousands of sites and the jobs they support will be lost.
‘‘A moratorium that goes on until the end of March 2021 will allow businesses to trade through Christmas and New Year. With the ‘rule of six’ in place, that period is undoubtedly going to be tough but at least should generate more cash than had been possible in the closure period, putting tenants into a stronger position to repay debt accrued.’’