Yesterday the government announced its intention to extend the range of protections for business tenants affected by COVID-19 to 31 March 2021. These were due to expire at the end of the month. This includes:
- The protections from forfeiture for business tenancies for non-payment of rent;
- The restrictions on landlords recovering unpaid rent by the exercise of commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR); and
- Restrictions on presenting winding-up petitions and on the making of winding-up orders.
The government announcement also says a “review of commercial landlord and tenant legislation will be launched early next year and will consider a broad range of issues including the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 Part II, different models of rent payment, and the impact of Coronavirus on the market”. 2021 might see a radical change in the property landscape. We are already seeing this with the changes to planning use classes that have been introduced. These are largely intended to help property owners redeploy units in our beleaguered town centres for other purposes; changing empty retail space to healthcare units, gyms or crèches.
Whilst the pandemic has been a very difficult period for property owners, the new year could present many exciting opportunities.
If you need any more advice on the protections for business tenants, we’re here to help – get in touch.