Commercial Tenants’ Rent Obligations Continued Throughout the Lockdown
As the UK continues to tackle the challenges that were caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, we have continued to receive a higher than usual number of enquiries relating to landlord and tenant clients, asking how Covid 19 affects their property arrangements and property obligations.
Throughout the pandemic we have seen the challenges that have been caused by introductions and extensions of restrictions imposed by the Government. We’ve written this news item to inform land owners and occupiers in all sectors to understand the implications for their real estate related rights and liabilities.
Key questions asked by our clients:
Can a landlord forfeit the lease and evict the tenant for non-payment of rent?
The Government announced on 23rd March last year, that commercial landlords were not able to forfeit commercial leases or evict a tenant for non-payment of rent. This was then extended until 31 March 2021, but it has since been announced that the restrictions are to be extended until 20 June 2021.
If a tenant is unable to pay rent in full, the Government is encouraging landlords to follow the recently introduced voluntary Code of Practice. The Code of Practice is designed to ‘promote good practice amongst landlord and tenant relationships.’
Will insurance help?
If you are a landlord or a tenant then you should make sure that you review your insurance policy and speak to a broker or insurance company to understand the cover that is available to you. Business interruption cover may be available to you but it may only be in place where there is damage to a property or where government action has meant that it is illegal for the premises to remain open. In many cases policy holders have realised that they did not have cover for infectious diseases as this was an opt in extra.
If I am a tenant must I keep open, or re-open my business premises?
If you are a retail tenant, you may notice that in your commercial lease there are keep open clauses and or operating/opening hours’ clauses.
Where a tenant is obliged to keep open their premises it is likely that the regulations will provide a defence to the requirement to keep open, especially if it can be established that keeping the premises open will be unlawful.
Contact our property solicitors
Are you a commercial tenant and looking for legal advice regarding your premises or rent during the COVID 19 pandemic? Do you think you have been treated unfairly?
Contact CP Law Associates for a free, no obligations consultation.
We have a number of offices across the UK, with our head office in Guildford.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.