The government was extending to 31 March 2021 the various tenant protections it has brought in since the pandemic began. However, that announcement of course pre-dated the current lockdown and it will come as a surprise to no-one that, despite this, the protections have been extended again until 30 June 2021.
Please note: the information contained in this legal update is correct as of the original date of publication.
We mentioned in our article on 14 December (click here) that the government was extending to 31 March 2021 the various tenant protections it has brought in since the pandemic began. Back in December, the government indicated that this would be the final extension. However, that announcement of course pre-dated the current lockdown and it will come as a surprise to no-one that, despite this, the protections have been extended again until 30 June 2021.
So, in summary, until 30 June 2021:
We haven’t yet heard if the restrictions on serving statutory demands and presenting winding-up petitions against tenants (and indeed all companies) which were originally brought in last summer have been similarly extended (although we’d have thought such an extension likely).
The government has also announced that it is launching a call for evidence to help monitor the overall progress of negotiations between landlords and tenants for paying or writing off outstanding rents (something the government has encouraged through its voluntary code of practice which it published last June – click here). This call for evidence will also set out the potential steps the government could take after 30 June. This could range from a phased withdrawal of current protections to legislative options targeted at those businesses most affected by the pandemic.
In December, the government also announced a review of what it described as ‘outdated’ commercial landlord and tenant legislation. This review will consider a broad range of issues including Part II of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954, different models of rent payment and the impact of the pandemic on the market. The review was originally going to take place early in 2021. However, the government now states that it will be launched ‘later this year’.
These are difficult times for everyone and whilst it is welcome news that the moratorium has been extended, it doesn’t mean any of the problems have gone away. It’s merely a putting off of the inevitable. Whilst some landlords and tenants have been able to reach mutually acceptable arrangements, this isn’t the typical position and the uncertainty is helping nobody – landlords and tenants alike. We need urgent solutions now – not a kicking of the can down the road!
National law firm Browne Jacobson has advised long standing retail client, Wilko on the sale and leaseback of its Nottinghamshire distribution centre in Worksop to logistics specialist DHL for £48m.
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Earlier in the year a number of fashion retailers, boldly announced the introduction of a charging fee for returning any product purchased via their online store. Yet, despite this commercial, and perhaps somewhat controversial decision, at least one major fashion giant that adopted this approach has recorded ‘historic highs’ in its September profits. Browne Jacobson partner, Cat Driscoll who heads up the firm’s commercial team in Manchester and is also head of its Fashion & Beauty sector discusses whether this change has put the average consumer off and whether the days of free returns are long gone.
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The fashion industry has a mountain to climb when it comes to sustainability. More than 8% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the apparel and footwear industries, and approaching three-fifths of all clothing ends up in incinerators or landfill within a year of being made.
Created at the end of the Brexit transition period, Retained EU Law is a category of domestic law that consists of EU-derived legislation retained in our domestic legal framework by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This was never intended to be a permanent arrangement as parliament promised to deal with retained EU law through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (the “Bill”).
Since the beginning of the pandemic, landlords and tenants have experienced significant limitations in the way rent arrears could be pursued. We first saw the moratorium on the recovery of Covid related arrears, and more recently we’ve experienced the implementation of the Covid arrears arbitration scheme.
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From 6 April 2022, right to work checks on all migrant or settled prospective employees must be online and checks on British or Irish nationals will be manual (free) or digital (charged for).
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The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022 was finally passed yesterday (24 March) and comes into force immediately.
Browne Jacobson has broadened its national construction and engineering offering with the appointment of construction partner Zoe Stollard into its Birmingham office.
The Government appears set to announce plans on ‘living with Covid to restore freedom’. With the success of the retail and hospitality sector key to recovery, what protections will be on offer to tenants to deal with Covid-19 rent arrears?
In Nissan v Passi, the High Court recently considered the issue of an employee retaining confidential documents belonging to his former employer in the context of the employer’s application for an injunction seeking the return of such documents from the employee.
The levelling up white paper sets out a set of 12 priority ‘missions’ to be pursued by national and local government in the years to come. With measures covering regeneration, communities, connectivity, education, R&D, employment, and health.
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Browne Jacobson’s corporate finance lawyers have advised omnichannel prestige beauty retailer Sephora on its acquisition of Feelunique.
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Following on from our recent article on the release of the updated Code of Practice for dealing with commercial rent arrears that have accrued throughout the pandemic, we continue to highlight what the overall principles seek to ensure - fairness and proportionality for both landlords and tenants across each step of the arbitration process.
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The government has now published new regulations to replace the winding up restrictions mentioned above from 1 October 2021. The key point of interest from a landlord and tenant perspective is that these new regulations will prevent a landlord from presenting a winding up petition to recover rent until 31 March 2022 where the sums are unpaid by the tenant because of the financial effect of the pandemic.
Last week, the government published a policy statement to deal with rent arrears accrued during the pandemic for those businesses affected by the pandemic.
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Break rights have proved a fertile source of litigation over the last few years. More often than not, tenants have found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions. However, a Court of Appeal decision yesterday has bucked that trend.
The delay in the full easing of lockdown restrictions and the knock on effect for certain tenants (particularly those in the hospitality and entertainment industry) has clearly caused a change of heart and the government has now announced a further extension of the restrictions.
One of the requirements for tenants to contract out of the security of tenure regime contained in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 is that they make a simple or statutory declaration before entering into the lease.