Communities secretary Robert Jenrick announced an extension to the lease forfeiture and debt enforcement moratoria, giving businesses three months to negotiate unpaid rent with their landlord.
This comes as welcome news to the hospitality sector, which has been pushing on Government for an extension to help businesses amid a tough trading situation under the new coronavirus tiers.
The Government has said businesses should pay any or all rent where they can.
Commercial landlord and tenant legislation is to be reviewed, following concerns it is outdated for the current economy.
Robert Jenrick said: “I am extending protections from the threat of eviction for businesses unable to pay their rent until March 2021, taking the length of these measures to one year. This will help them recover from the impact of the pandemic and plan for the future.
“This support is for the businesses struggling the most during the pandemic, such as those in hospitality – however, those that are able to pay their rent should do so.
“We are witnessing a profound adjustment in commercial property. It is critical that landlords and tenants across the country use the coming months to reach agreements on rent wherever possible and enable viable businesses to continue to operate.”
UKHospitality(UKH) said the extension should be followed by long-term support to help businesses in debt.
Without further financial support for pubs such as an extension to the business rates holiday and VAT cut, there could be mass evictions from 1 April, the body warned.
UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is a very welcome respite and it will be crucial in ensuring that more businesses do not fall off an immediate cliff edge. Hospitality businesses that have been hammered all year long were staring down the barrel of mass failures and job losses without this.
“If it is to be the final extension to the moratoria, then it is absolutely crucial that it is followed swiftly by a cohesive and comprehensive package of recovery measures from the Government. The focus now needs to turn to helping businesses begin to get back towards full strength and trade their way out of danger.”
Nicholls called for loans to tenants where landlords have provided rent concessions.
She added: “The review of Commercial Property legislation, due to begin in the new year, must also be delivered at pace. We have been calling for this for a long time and it needs to happen sooner rather than later if we hope to see more businesses benefit from it.”