Government extends rent relief for commercial tenants
The UK government has released further support for commercial tenants. The ban on commercial evictions has been extended by 3 months until 30 June 2021.
The government introduced a temporary suspension of landlords’ rights to forfeit business leases for non-payment of rent until 30 June 2020. This has subsequently been extended three times, on a quarterly basis: to 30 September 2020; to 31 December 2020; and to 31 March 2021. This will now be extended a fourth time, to 30 June 2021. It only applies to non-payment of rents, it does not extend to other breaches of covenant and landlords retain rights of rent recovery through the application to the court, withdrawals from rent deposits (where in place) or claims against any existing guarantor of the lease. It should be noted that rent, insurance rents, service charges and interest will continue to accrue, but landlords will need to wait before taking forfeiture action.
The government has advised that commercial landlords and tenants should continue to work together to navigate the reopening of the high street and commercial properties following the end of the national lockdown. Businesses should approach their property owners and negotiate how to manage rental arrears fairly along the lines suggested by the voluntary Code of Practice issued last summer.
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