Coronavirus: tenant protection welcomed

Scottish Parliament

NEW protections for business tenants introduced as part of the Scottish Government’s Coronavirus Bill have been welcomed by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The Bill, which was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday April 1, adjusts the law on evictions to ensure tenants unable to pay their rent are protected for a period of 14 weeks.

Andrew McRae, Scotland policy chair at the FSB, said the move “should help to give more small business tenants a much needed break during this crisis”.

The group has called for more landlords to offer ‘rent holidays’ and deferments to tenants that have been forced to close their doors due to the pandemic.

McRae said: “These important new protections for small business tenants are a necessary move during the current circumstances.

“Tens of thousands of smaller Scottish businesses rent their premises. On government advice, many of these operators have closed their doors and lost their capacity to generate income.

“Given that it is in everyone’s interests for local businesses to survive this crisis, we need to see flexibility from private and public landlords. And we’ve heard of good work by some property owners already.

“We need to see more forward-thinking landlords get in contact with their small business tenants and offer them rent holidays and deferments for the duration of this difficult period.”