RENT DISCOUNT SCHEME
Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar (HMGoG) has confirmed that the rent discount scheme operational in April and May 2020 will be extended one final time to 30 June 2021. The scheme applies to prequalifying commercial tenants of private landlords as well as HMGoG’s commercial tenants.
This confirmation follows the announcement on 15 April 2021 when HMGoG extended the measure to the end of May at the request of the Chamber of Commerce and agreed with them to further review the position for the period to 30th June 2021. That review has now been concluded and a decision has been taken to extend the scheme one last time, to 30 June 2021.
Government is extremely grateful to private sector landlords who have stood shoulder to shoulder with Government in supporting local businesses to withstand the chronic challenge of this pandemic. This has no doubt been a significant burden to landlords but they have assisted Government and sustained their tenant’s businesses by providing these discounts.
The rent discount scheme will not be formally extended beyond 1st July. However, HMGoG encourages private landlords to work closely with their tenants over the coming months and to consider extending varying discounts on a case by case basis to further support their tenants in the coming months as Gibraltar works to recover business levels to normality.
MORATORIUM ON RENT INCREASES
HMGoG has also confirmed that the moratorium on rental increases to HMGoG commercial tenants will be extended to 31 December 2021. The moratorium was last covered in HMGoG’s press release of 9 April 2021, where it had been extended to 30 June 2021. On further reflection, HMGoG has sought to defer the rent reviews to its own tenants until no earlier than 1st January 2022. Therefore the Government can confirm that any commercial entity which has been invoiced a rent increase as from 1 July will now receive a credit for the equivalent amount.
The additional 25% early rates payment discount that was previously applied to all certain business sectors has also been extended to all business sectors for the next quarter (to cover the period 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021). This discount does not apply to supermarkets and pharmacies.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC, said: “I truly appreciate the huge effort our landlords have made in extending rent discounts to their tenants at this challenging time. This is a prime example of how our community pulls together and I am confident that given time, we will all emerge stronger. Gibraltar has started to see tourism return and the spending power that these tourists bring with them is warmly welcome. As our businesses recover, the need for Government to legally enforce a rental discount scheme dissipates. This will now be the final period for the rent discount scheme at law. But we do hope that landlords continue to work with their tenants to apply the rent discount scheme on a case by case voluntary basis.”