During this unprecedented time, the Commercial Property team at Gepp Solicitors has been receiving numerous enquiries from both Landlords and Tenants needing urgent advice as to how the situation with COVID-19 affects them.
As we are all aware, the current lock-down status of the country has meant that most non-essential businesses have had to close their doors leaving huge numbers of businesses unable to trade or make a profit. This is not good from a Landlord's or a Tenant's perspective as the same question soon crops up – what about the rent?
For Tenants running their own commercial enterprises
The Government has issued guidance and support which you should make the most of. The support available includes both loans and grants, employee retention schemes, help with outstanding tax payments and a number of other things which are all there to be used to help your business get through this difficult time. You should consult the Government website for full details of everything that is available.
Unfortunately, there is not as much assistance available but some lenders are offering 'mortgage payment holidays' which could then be used to fund a rent reduction. If a Tenant does approach you because they are having difficulties with paying their rent due to having to close their business, we would encourage you to try and keep a good relationship with them and be as flexible as you are able to be. However, you should make sure that you do not waive your formal legal rights under the lease and related documents.
We can assist in reserving your formal legal rights, whilst at the same time allowing you to support your tenants with a rent reduction, rent holiday or flexible payment terms. This can also include preserving your legal ability to recover unpaid rent and other sums at a later date with or without agreed interest payments.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.