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18 Sep 2020

Government's extension of commercial rent protections a 'lifeline' for gyms
BY Tom Walker

Thousands of gyms and leisure centres were threatened with rent enforcement activity

Thousands of gyms and leisure centres were threatened with rent enforcement activity
photo: Shutterstock.com/Dusan Petkovic

The government has further extended protection from rent enforcement activity until the end of the year.

The measure, in force for England and Wales, provides relief for gyms and leisure centres and had been set to expire at the end of September.

According to industry body, ukactive, many of its members were facing evictions, winding-up orders and other enforcement activity as the protection was coming to an end.

It is the second time that the protection has been extended since it was first announced as part of lockdown measures in March. The government set the initial ending date for 30 June.

According to ukactive CEO, Huw Edwards, the extension comes as a relief for the physical activity sector, as rent enforcement activity has threatened "thousands of fitness and leisure facilities".

“Many of ukactive’s members have been facing evictions, winding up orders and other enforcement activity due to the possibility that the existing moratorium may have ended at the end of September," Edwards said.

"This increased space and time will mean that vital businesses in our sector will be able to trade and stabilise.

“Together with our partner trade bodies from the hospitality and retail sectors, we have engaged with the Government to create an environment where landlords and tenants can reach agreement.

“We ask that the Government continues to support all parties with constructive negotiations that take into account the forced closure of our sector for four months and the ongoing operating restrictions which limit recovery.

“We continue to call for vital financial and regulatory support, including a VAT rebate for the fitness and leisure sector, resulting in an effective output tax of 10 per cent and allowing our members to play their full role in combating this health crisis.”



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