The Coronavirus Act 2020, an emergency piece of legislation to cover various subject matters connected with Convid-19, came in force in England and Wales on 25th March 2020.
As part of the new legislation, business tenants i.e. tenants under which the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 applies, cannot be evicted or forfeit their lease for non-payment of rent which includes annual rent, service charges, insurance rent and any other sums payable by the Tenant under the lease.
For Landlords however, this does not mean that they have waived their right of re-entry or forfeiture unless an expressed waiver in writing has been given to the Tenant. This means that the Landlord’s right has not been lost, but that they can only recover possession after the “relevant period”.
The “relevant period” will expire on 30th June 2020 although it can be extended more than once by the Government if needed.
In addition, any possession proceedings initiated before the 25th March will not give Landlord possession until after either 30thJune 2020 or any extension of this deadline.
IMPORTANT: this does not mean that Tenants are not required to pay their rent; only that if they cannot pay their rent, their Landlord cannot obtain possession until 30th June 2020 or later if extended.
This new level of protection will give Tenants across England and Wales greater bargaining power when discussing with their Landlord payment of rent arrangements during this unprecedented time which could include rent free periods or agreed deferred payments of rents.
While this is great news for tenants, non-payment of rent can affect Landlords in many ways including their own loan repayments or cash flow issues. Therefore landlords would be advised to contact any lenders to discuss putting in place measures should the tenant stop paying.
If you are a landlord or tenant of business premises facing concerns over rent then please contact the Attwells Commercial Property Team for further advice or our review service at our local offices North London (0207 722 9898); Colchester (01206 766 333) or Ipswich (01473 229 200) or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.