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Latest guidance for Commercial Landlords and Tenants

Last updated: 24th April 2020

Following the coming into force of the Coronavirus Act 2020 on 25 March, a significant provision has been put into law to protect businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notwithstanding the Act, head of litigation, David Bailey, has advised landlords and tenants to have open discussions with each other to maintain relations.

Section 82 of the Act prohibits a landlord of business premises exercising any right to forfeit a business tenancy (for non-payment of rent) between 26 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 either by “peaceable re-entry” or by issuing Court proceedings.

The law was deliberately timed to come into force on the day when most commercial tenants in the country have to pay a quarter’s rent in advance. The protection applies to all business tenants, even those few who have seen demand for their products and services increase during the crisis e.g. the supermarkets.

The law provides breathing space for tenants and encourages landlords and tenants to communicate with each other e.g. with a view to agreeing  deferment or reduction of rent or switching to monthly payments.

However, even before the law was passed, most of the industry was already calling upon landlords in particular not to be too harsh if tenants were genuinely struggling to pay the rent as a result of the pandemic.

The new law provides another limb in the Government’s raft of measures to protect businesses.

If you have any questions please visit our COVID-19 Hub or speak with David Bailey in our Real Estate Litigation Team.