The Coronavirus has seen the UK public retreat on a mass scale to the comfort of their own homes with the country in effect in lockdown whilst many have been advised to self-isolate. As a result, normal trading has stalled and many businesses have been forced to close their doors to customers.
The hope is that the measures taken to date will slow the spread of the virus to avoid the NHS being overwhelmed but there is no certainty for UK businesses as to when it will be safe to resume business as normal.
We cannot stress enough that in spite of all the uncertainty, what is clear is that, much like the rest of the country, landlords and tenants are likely to have to work together and compromise if the threat to health and the economy posed by COVID-19 is to be overcome.
A couple of points that we should all consider:
- Regardless of legal ability for either landlord or tenant to take action, in the current climate public opinion on parties choosing to do so where the problem has arisen as a result of Covid-19 should be borne in mind;
- Proposals have been made to include provisions in the Coronavirus Bill to restrict the right to forfeit some commercial leases and to recover possession, the net effect of which will be that many tenants will decide not to pay the March quarter’s rent. There may be further legislative changes to come.
This note reflects the position as at 24 March 2020. Things are changing rapidly so please bear this in mind when considering whether any of the below may be of use to you.
Whilst the courts in England and Wales remain open, they are having to dealing with matters remotely which is likely to result in delays and adjournments. They are also likely to focus their attentions on more urgent matters, which is unlikely to include disputes between landlords and tenants.
If you need any further help or guidance please feel free to contact us via 0191 211 7777 or email [email protected].
Check our our latest COVID-19 eNews here.