Coronavirus lease forfeiture legislation extended

The moratorium introduced by s.82 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 prohibiting commercial landlords from exercising their right to forfeit leases for non-payment of rent has been extended again and now runs until 31 December 2020.

Further legislation will prevent landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears.  From 29 September through until 24 December 2020 this has been extended to 276 days’ rent.  From 25 December 2020 the arrears will need to have been outstanding for 366 days.

Landlords and tenants are still being urged to co-operate and assist each other through these difficult times and those tenants that can pay are encouraged to do so.

This generally kicks the can a little further down the road, but is likely to be an issue when the moratorium comes to an end.  There had been concern that landlords could lose their right to forfeit for unpaid March and June quarters rent by accepting the September quarter rent after the moratorium expired at the end of September.  The unpaid rent would remain owing, but a landlord may lose the ability to take action if subsequent rent payments are accepted.

Oliver Ray is a solicitor specialising in commercial property law in the Property department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich.

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