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COVID-19: Lease Considerations for Business Tenants and Commercial Landlords


Most leases do not allow the tenant to withhold rent regardless of the circumstances and in a normal situation unilaterally withholding the payment of rent could result in a forfeiture claim by the landlord. 

However, the UK Government’s Coronavirus Act 2020 (which recently received Royal Assent) includes provisions to protect a commercial tenant from being evicted from their property for missing a rent payment in the next three months. Moreover, from 25th March 2020, s.82 of the Act provides that a right of re-entry or forfeiture, under a “relevant business tenancy”, for non-payment of rent may not be enforced, by action or otherwise, during the “relevant period”.  

Whilst this adds certainty and relief for commercial tenants, this could place landlords in a difficult situation. 

Practical Steps:

In the meantime, we would encourage all landlords and tenants to open a dialogue with each other and work together in these difficult times. Having an open dialogue and coming to a mutually agreeable position may well be better for the landlord and tenant relationship in the long run. This might include:

  • Considering a reduction or waiver of rent for a short period of time;
  • Reviewing insurance policies to see whether loss of rent or business interruption losses will be recoverable.

We can review your lease to see if there are any obligations/ provisions that may assist you.

If you need specialist advice, guidance or support from our team of legal experts, please email or call us on 02920 224433.

Please contact James Pearn, Partner and Head of Property at Loosemores to find out more. 

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