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Will the Government’s proposed code of practice save our struggling commercial rental sector

01 June 2020 #Real Estate


 

On the 29 May, the Government announced that it intends to publish a new code of practice to give clarity and reassurance to high street businesses and landlords over rent payments.

A working group has been established by the Government with the commercial rental sector to develop a code of practice which will encourage fair and transparent discussions between landlords and tenants over rental payments during the coronavirus pandemic and guidance on rent arrear payments and the treatment of those that are sub-letting and suppliers.  It is hoped that this will enable collaboration and cooperation within the sector and help ensure that ‘no one part of the chain shoulders the full burden of payment’.

The code will be temporary in nature, but the Government will explore options to make it mandatory if necessary.  The code is expected to be published before the next quarterly rent payment date of 24 June 2020.

The code forms part of a number of measures introduced by the Government to support the high street/commercial rented sector including:

  • The Coronavirus Act 2020, which contains express protections for business tenancies that restrict a landlord's ability to forfeit a lease during a specified time period;
  • The Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/451), which imposes temporary restrictions on enforcement by landlords; and
  • The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill which contains further provisions which will affect how landlords deal with matters if it is enacted, such as temporarily banning the use of statutory demands.

The code has been welcomed by many in the commercial property sector as a ‘positive first step’ which will allow both tenants and landlords to work constructively to ensure that otherwise viable businesses are not forced into administration.  It is also recognised that many property owners and tenants are already working well together, effectively engaging and agreeing sustainable plans and as such the code of practice will provide an opportunity to ‘codify this good practice’. 

However, the recovery of the economy and the high street will need a united approach and all sides must be prepared to do more if necessary to ensure that businesses in distress as a result of coronavirus are supported, to in turn protect people’s jobs and our communities.

If you would like advice about how to document concessionary rent arrangements, please get in contact with our Real Estate team who will be happy to help.

realestatelawyers@clarkslegal.com

Clarkslegal, specialist Real Estate lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Real Estate matter please contact Clarkslegal's real estate team by email at realestate@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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Clare Rees

Clare Rees
Senior Solicitor

E: Clare.Rees@clarkslegal.com
T: ‪+442075398030‬
M: 07786658221

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Real Estate team
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