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Ban on business tenant evictions extended ahead of Christmas Day rent payment quarter date

On 9th December 2020, the Government announced that the ban on landlords evicting business tenants would be extended until the end of March 2021.

The ban on a landlord’s usual right to “forfeit” a business lease was introduced as part of a package of measures to assist businesses during the disruption associated with the covid-19 pandemic and was extended in September.

If a suitable right is including in a business tenancy agreement, landlords would ordinarily have the right to evict a tenant by a process known as “forfeiture” by either making a court application or by re-entering the property and changing the locks if a tenant is behind or “in arrears” on their rent.

The announcement is timely as the next traditional rent payment “quarter day” due on Christmas Day, which is still used in many business and farming leases, was looming on the horizon and many landlords may have been beginning to make preparations to take action against non-paying tenants.

This is stated in the press release to be a “final” extension so it does seem that there will be no further protection for tenants moving forwards. The Government intend this to be a period for landlords and tenants to come to an agreement on unpaid rent.

The Government is urging landlords and tenants to communicate constructively and has issued a non-legally-binding code of practice to assist the landlord and tenant relationship during current time.

A link to the Government’s announcement can be found here and the code of practice can be found here.

In many cases we are seeing landlords working positively with tenants to accommodate the current difficulties by agreeing rent holidays or concessions in consideration for an extension of a current lease or the relinquishing of any break right, in both cases re-affirming the commitment to each other.

If you are a business tenant not sure about your situation in your business property or about the terms of your lease or you are a landlord unsure of your rights and any restrictions on them at this current time, our team of commercial property and dispute resolution lawyers are here to help with any queries call us on 01623468468 or use the enquiry form below.

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