Government has set up a working group to nail down the code, which will apply during the pandemic and will help spread the financial burdens created by the crisis across the sector.

A code of practice that will encourage ‘fair and transparent’ rent payment discussions between commercial landlords and tenants has been announced by the government.

Yet to be issued, a working group has been established to hammer out the code following a consultation with industry bodies.

Once the new code is published, it will apply as long as the Coronavirus crisis continues.

The announcement coincides with separate news from lenders’ trade body UK Finance, which says its members will continue to support commercial landlords ahead of the second quarter rent payment deadline on June 25th.

This is likely to trigger another wave of rent payment deferral requests from tenants, an issue that the new working group is to examine alongside how sub-letters and suppliers should be treated.

The government says the key aim of code will be to encourage all the players in the commercial property sector to shoulder the financial burden of the crisis.

“We expect all parties to come to the table so our high streets and town centres are in the best possible position to come back from these challenges,” says Housing secretary Robert Jenrick.

“We are giving clarity to landlords and tenants who are both facing equal pressures on their finances so they are all able to stabilise their finances and bounce back.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also been involved in the decision to formulate the code, saying: “We continue to work with lenders to ensure flexible support is provided to commercial landlords, including payment holidays and restructuring facilities, and it is right that where landlords receive support, they extend this to their tenants.”

Read more about commercial property and the Coronavirus.


  1. At Rent Happily, we encourage residential landlords to get a mortgage holiday from their lender, and to transfer these as rent relief to their tenant, thereby avoid rent arrears altogether. With the prospect of a recession looming ahead of us, jobs will be scarce, properties will be harder to rent, and rent arrears will only laden the credit record of tenants and the balance sheet of landlords, as explained in this article:
    The same can be done with commercial properties: if lenders are giving payment holidays to landlords and spreading the repayments over the term of the mortgage, the landlord recovers the debt of the mortgage payment deferral through future rents and at a minimum cost.
    Mortgages being the cheapest credit around, it just makes sense to transfer the payment deferral to the tenant in full, so that neither the landlord nor the tenant is in arrears, it is simply a payment break. By deferring the payment through future rents, the lender gets their money back, the tenant gets a breathing space, and the landlord squares even.


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