Landlords and tenants have been urged to worked together during the covid-19 crisis. The property rental and retail sector has been hit hard during the 10-week lockdown with millions of tenants struggling to pay rent for homes and shops – driven by a fall in income and footfall.

A number of measures to protect tenants have been enforced through the Coronavirus Act 2020, stopping landlords from forfeiting commercial leases and evicting tenants for non-payment of rent. Further restrictions are about to be introduced which will prevent landlords from winding-up tenant companies for non-payment of rent who have suffered a financial impact as a result of Covid-19.

David Bailey, partner and head of commercial property litigation at legal firm Napthens, said tenants and landlords needed to get together to discuss how to find a way through the current difficulties.

“In most cases it is not appropriate for landlords to pursue every penny of rent when they know a tenant is struggling in the current circumstances,” he said.

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“Also, in most cases it is not appropriate for tenants to refuse to pay anything.”

“By working together and considering the specific circumstances of the subject property, the landlord, the existence of any support from the landlord’s lender, Government financial help available and the tenant’s business, both parties can come through the challenges,” said David.

“The pandemic is a game changer for the usual landlord and tenant relationship. The knock-on effects will vary business to business and it is important for landlords and tenants to work in partnership to reach a workable solution until things return to some sort of normality.”

Andrew Speer of Proper Finance commented: “Both landlords and tenants alike should lean on government schemes such as Business Interruption Loans, SEISS and Bounce Back Loans to help manage and maintain their cash flow – rather than scrutinising their own tenants or landlords and forging bad relationships.”

“Coronavirus is a testing time for a lot of businesses, but whilst the future is uncertain, we need to find ways to make things amicable and avoid unnecessary legal action and penalties – since things could be improved and back to normal by as early as Q4 this year.”

“Finance options are available to people and businesses of all sizes now – and the rates from schemes are lower than ever. You should speak to your lawyer or accountant beforehand to discuss your options.”

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