Commercial Rent And Possession
It was announced on 10th March 2021 that the ban on commercial evictions in England and Wales would be extended for a further 3 months, to ensure commercial businesses i.e. pubs, restaurants and retail be supported as they re-open. Whilst the legislation is yet be passed in England, the proposed extension to the ban on commercial forfeiture is until the 30th June 2021.
In Wales, The Business Tenancies (Extension of Protection from Forfeiture etc) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/253 (W 66)) were laid before the Senedd on 9th March 2021 and will come into effect on 31st March 2021. These regulations extend the protections from forfeiture for non-payment of rent for business tenancies in Wales to 30th June 2021.
There will also be legislation introduced to increase the minimum net unpaid rent that must be outstanding, before CRAR can be used to, 457 days between the 25th March and 23rd June 2021 and 554 days between the 24th June and 30th June 2021 – this is likely to be apply in England and Wales.
The Government has also confirmed that it will review evidence on commercial rents which will set out steps which could be taken after 30th June 2021. In a press statement released by the Government, it explained that these steps could range from “a phased withdrawal of current protections, to legislative options targeted at those businesses most impacted by COVID-19”.
Whilst these extensions may be disappointing for commercial landlords, it remains open to landlords to issue proceedings against a tenant for a money judgment in respect of rent arrears. We also await confirmation from the Government as to whether the ban on issuing a winding up petition on the basis of a statutory demand will be extended beyond the current deadline of 31st March 2021.
Residential tenants will also be supported as the ban on Bailiff Enforced Evictions of Residential Properties will also be extended until at least 31st May 2021. The only exception being serious cases such as fraud or domestic abuse. Residential Landlords are still required to provide 6 months written notice to Tenants prior to eviction.