Over recent weeks many businesses have been forced to review every aspect of their operation, looking at necessary changes to protect their employees, suppliers, customers and their profitability in light of COVID-19.
For any business that rents premises, there are a number of important points to be aware of:
- Firstly, and on a purely practical note, if you have closed your premises as a result of an enforced closure, remember to inform your insurance company or your landlord (if they deal with your insurance) that the property is vacant. Insurers needs to know about any changes in the day-to-day functioning of your business, including closures. If you or your landlord do not inform your insurer, your cover may be invalidated.
- Under new government measures, if you cannot pay your rent because of COVID-19, commercial tenants will be protected from eviction. If you miss a payment between now and 30 June, you cannot be forced out of your premises and your lease cannot be automatically forfeit. You will still be liable for the rent but will be protected from immediate eviction.
- If your business is a children’s nursery or in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors and is based in England, you can benefit from the government’s business rates holiday. The relief may be awarded automatically, but you may need to apply, so we suggest that you get in touch with your local authority about this.
- There is also Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.
Full details are available on the government’s website.