Commercial property eviction ban extended until the end of 2020
The Government has extended its ban on commercial property evictions until the end of 2020. Abi Lutey, Partner and Head of Commercial Disputes at Coodes Solicitors explains what it means for landlords and tenants.
The Business Tenancies (Protection from Forfeiture: Relevant Period) (Coronavirus) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 was introduced on 16 September 2020. It means landlords are now prevented from forfeiting commercial leases for non-payment of rent until 31 December 2020.
The Government has extended the temporary ban (known as a moratorium) in an effort to continue to protect jobs and businesses over the next few months.
Changes to Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR)
The Taking Control of Goods (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 have also been amended in relation to the amount of unpaid rent that must be in arrears before CRAR can be used.
Currently a landlord cannot seize goods for non-payment of rent unless more than 189 days are in arrears. The new regulations, which come into force on 29 September 2020, set out that 276 days rent must be in arrears to use CRAR before 24 December 2020 and that goes up to 366 days rent on 25 December 2020.
Re-activating property possession cases
Proceedings, which have been issued and were previously stayed (temporarily put on hold), may now be progressed. Any landlords seeking to reactivate a property possession case should speak to a lawyer. The court must receive notice in a specified format otherwise those proceedings will remain stayed.
We are receiving a number of enquiries from commercial landlords and tenants in relation to this changing legislation. I have answered some of the most common questions in my previous blog. The advice we have given throughout remains the same: keep channels of communication open and work together to reach a solution that suits both parties if at all possible. The Government’s Code of Practice is a useful guide for landlords and tenants at this time.