As we prepare to transition into a ‘new normal’ arguably more businesses will seek an online solution. It is likely more businesses will adopt a hybrid of home workers and office-based staff. With others viewing this outbreak as a turning point to move solely into online trading.

The advantages are clear, reduced overheads and flexible working hours. An equilibrium of work and home could be the result of this devastating outbreak with possible environmental benefits.

Nevertheless, this may result in a reduction of shops and offices in our town centres and cities as buildings are converted into apartments. Attwells Solicitors are property law experts and consequently, we can help business owners review their lease agreements.

Support for Tenants

As a tenant, you have a number of options, but we would always recommend talking to your landlord first. Open dialog and clear communication can often resolve issues and reduce the chances of them escalating. Attwells can help you with formally approaching your landlord or with a property dispute.

If your lease requires renewing within the next year or you are currently leasing your premises on a rolling contract basis (not recommended) then you can negotiate a new contract amending your current terms and conditions including the amount you pay in rent.

If you are struggling to pay your rent due to the Coronavirus you may also be entitled to a Small Business Grant of up to £10,000. This is for businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief. HRMC will contact you if you are entitled however, there is a business support enquiry line should you need further support. You can call 0300 456 3565. In addition, there is the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme available too.

Support for Landlords

As a landlord, you are under no legal obligation to reduce your rent due to your commercial tenants struggling to remain in business. These terms and conditions are outlined in your contract normally under a fixed term agreement. Rent is therefore payable for the duration of your contract (lease).

However, you may feel a reduction is reasonable in exchange for additional non-monies conditions, such as a lease extension or reducing the likelihood of your commercial property being left empty.

The implications of an empty commercial property are concerning. Obviously, this will have a direct effect on your yield, in addition to out of pocket expenses such as insurance, business rates and debt recovery fees.

As you know, Attwells Solicitors are property law experts, we work with both landlords and tenants to agree commercial leases that are beneficial and sustainable. Attwells Solicitors began trading in 2007 in the mist of the recession and therefore we understand the importance of a win-win scenario.

In Ipswich where our head office is based, we are seeing a trend in commercial properties being turned into residential units. In the case of Princes Street, they are being turned back. This is another option for landlords, converting a property into apartments or flats will increase your yield and depending on the tenants, will offer you a guaranteed rental income.

In order to change the use of your property you will require planning permission; our planning department would be able to assist you with this. Attwells are in a unique position as we are able to help you with every legal aspect until completion.

For more information or advice regarding any of the services mentioned please click on the links embedded or for a free obligation chat please call Nick Attwell on 01473 229200 or email