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Government Extends Protection for Commercial Tenants Until March 2021

The protection is for businesses who are struggling to cope with the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19), particularly those in the hospitality and retail industries. The Government is clear that businesses that can pay any or all of their rent, should do so.

Scope of the Ban on Evictions
Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick said that this will be the ‘final’ extension of the ban on evictions, after it was originally expected to end in September 2020. The extension is intended to give landlords and tenants three months to come to an agreement on unpaid rent.

The position for landlords and tenants under section 82 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 is as follows:

Landlords cannot exercise their rights to re-enter premises or forfeit a commercial lease as a result of a tenant’s failure to pay rent.
Tenants will still be required to pay rent (and other payments) after 31 March 2021.
Landlords can sue for rent arrears at their discretion, unless they are able to reach an agreement with the tenant to waive or defer some of the payments.
The following restrictions will also be extended until 31 March 2021:

Landlords will only be able to exercise Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR), if there are 366 days of outstanding rent after the December 2020 quarter’s rent is due.
The use of statutory demands and winding-up petitions being enforced by creditors on companies who are facing debts because of COVID-19.