The Government has introduced further measures to protect commercial tenants against debt recovery actions during the Coronavirus pandemic. As with the suspended forfeiture rights introduced in the Coronavirus Act the new protections will initially last until 30 June 2020 although they may be extended further.
Legislation to restrict commercial landlords exercising Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) unless there are rent arrears of at least 90 days has (on Tuesday) been introduced. There is also pending legislation which will include restrictions on issuing statutory demands and winding-up petitions. Under the new measures, any statutory demands made between 1 March and 30 June 2020 and winding up petitions presented from 27 April to 30 June 2020 that claims an individual or company is unable to pay its debts must first be reviewed by the court to determine why. If the reason for failure to pay is the result of COVID-19 it will not be permitted.
Until the new legislation is published (which publication is expected imminently), it is not clear whether this will apply to the landlord and tenant relationship only or to any company debt but it is clear that the intention is to provide further relief to commercial tenants. Commercial landlords that are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic may be able to get help through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme.
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