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Govt extends rent discount scheme ‘one final time’

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

The Gibraltar Government has confirmed that the rent discount scheme operational in April and May 2020 will be extended “one final time” to June 30, 2021. 


The scheme applies to prequalifying commercial tenants of private landlords as well as the government’s commercial tenants. 


Last April, the government 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 June 30. 


That review has now been concluded and a decision has been taken to extend the scheme again.


The government said it was “extremely grateful” to private sector landlords who had helped support local businesses to withstand the “chronic challenge” of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


“This has no doubt been a significant burden to landlords but they have assisted the government and sustained their tenants’ businesses by providing these discounts,” No.6 Convent Place said in a statement.


The rent discount scheme will not be formally extended beyond July 1, the statement added.


However, the government is encouraging 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 businesses as Gibraltar works to recover trade to normal levels.


The government also confirmed that the moratorium on rental increases to government commercial tenants would be extended to December 31.


The government had previously extended it to June 30 but said it would now defer rent reviews to its own tenants to no earlier than January 1, 2022.


Any commercial entity that has been invoiced a rent increase as from July 1 will now receive a credit for the equivalent amount. 


The additional 25% early rates payment discount that was previously applied to certain business sectors has also been extended to all business sectors for the next quarter, to cover the period July 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021. 


This discount does not apply to supermarkets and pharmacies. 


“I truly appreciate the huge effort our landlords have made in extending rent discounts to their tenants at this challenging time,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo. 


“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.”

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