Legislation had been enacted that stopped landlords forfeiting leases, issuing petitions or statutory demands where rent has not been paid due to Coronavirus. This protection has now expired as of the 25th March 2022.
The government has now passed the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022 which in effect removes all restrictions on landlords to recover their rent arrears. However, companies that were forced to close due to the pandemic i.e. restaurants, pubs and gyms are eligible to enter into a legally binding arbitration process where they have not been able to reach agreement. This will resolve disputes about certain pandemic-related rent debt and should help the market return to normal as quickly as possible. It should be noted that their is a window of 6 months for the arbitration to be completed.
The Government said the majority of commercial landlords had shown “flexibility, understanding and commitment to protect businesses during an exceptionally challenging time”.
The British Property Federation have said that the inability of them to collect rent had "“undermined the UK’s attractiveness” as a place to invest in property and development, which could undermine the recovery.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the BPF, accused “large, financially sophisticated and well-capitalised businesses” of abusing the moratorium by withholding rent to improve their liquidity. She added that income from more robust businesses was essential so that the landlords could extend help to more vulnerable tenants like independent traders and boutique retailers.
Category: Insolvency process