It was going to happen. Some closed their minds to the possibility, and those people were mainly commercial landlords who hoped it wouldn't happen. Yesterday (Wednesday 16 September) the Government extended its moratorium on commercial tenant evictions until the end of 2020 in a move that will likely further deepen divisions between retailers and landlords.
Those of you who follow the NTI newsroom (or, indeed, if you have been alive between last night and this afternoon) will recognise that those divisions were worsened last evening when New Look scored a big point against their landlords, points that could change he game completely. The Government said it had extended its ban on landlords evicting commercial tenants behind on their rent payments until at least the end of the year, in a bid to protect jobs.
It is well known that Robert Jenrick is a huge fan of Christmas and likes to exchange gifts with former Express newspapers’ owner Richard Desmond and that Mr Desmond personally gave £12,000 to the Conservatives with tidings of comfort and joy. In exactly that spirit Mr Jenrick said that extending the ban until the end of the year would give struggling high street retailers and restaurant chains a chance to “focus on rebuilding their business over the autumn and Christmas period”. Which is nice.
Robert got very stern at this point and said that “where businesses can pay their rent, they should do so”, as the measure was only designed to support those “struggling the most during the pandemic”. He makes a good point here and it made tenants who have been wrongfully refusing to pay their rent sit up and think. We shouldn't be doing this (they thought). This is wrong (they reminded themselves). What were we even thinking (they continued).
All in all this was another bad day for landlords, who must have been thinking their week could not get any worse. One of them supports Macclesfield Town and hasn't read the news for a day or so. His day is going to get worse.