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NTIA welcomes extension of forfeiture moratorium but calls for more COVID support for night-time businesses

By | Published on Thursday 11 March 2021

Night Time Industries Association

The Night Time Industries Association has welcomed the news that the government is extending its COVID-related forfeiture moratorium until June, although it says the extension is “a welcome reprieve but not a long term solution”.

The forfeiture moratorium is a COVID measure to protect commercial tenants who are struggling to keep up with rent commitments because of the pandemic – it basically stops landlords from evicting tenants over unpaid rent.

The moratorium was due to expire at the end of this month, but with the COVID shutdown extending until at least June for many night-time businesses, the NTIA and others have been calling for the protection to be extended. It has now been extended until the end of June.

Welcoming that move but calling for more support for entertainment and hospitality businesses, NTIA CEO Michael Kill says: “The extension of the forfeiture moratorium until June 2021 has been welcomed by businesses which have been under an immense amount of pressure financially, but still does not address the underlying issues of rent arrears”.

“Business owners will continue to take on further rent debt through this period, which will inevitably compromise their future”, he adds. “This needs government intervention and will require lead departments to use this period to address these issues and look at potential solutions where the stakeholders share the burden of debt from rent arrears. Consideration needs to be given to a more robust code of conduct which would require some mandatory elements within it, similar to the Australian model, ensuring that each stakeholder comes to the table to resolve this current situation”.

“Thousands of businesses have been lost already, with many employees and freelancers hanging off every announced press statement”, he concludes. “With the acknowledgement by the Prime Minister of the immense commitment of businesses and the nation in support of the public health strategy, out of courtesy would it be too much to ask the government to place greater importance on timely communication given the gravity of some of these announcements”.