COVID-19: Advice to Landlords and Tenants

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We have already seen landlords and tenants working together in positive and collaborative ways to keep business moving and to minimise the impact of the current crisis. We all await further news of potential legislative intervention to assist the property sector and will be ready to offer guidance with the new/temporary regime.

The emergency Coronavirus legislation currently aims to protect tenants so that no business can be evicted from its premises if it misses a payment before the end of June 2020. Furthermore, landlords are now prevented from threatening tenants with insolvency.

For Landlords and tenants, we can offer immediate practical and legal support in the following ways:

  • Review lease and rent deposit deeds to identify and explain pertinent clauses (rent cesser and insurance / turn-over provisions/keep-open covenants/ force majeure clauses/ forfeiture /break options etc).
  • Renegotiate and document commercially agreeable payment terms (rent / service charge – timing and concessions) for the duration of the crisis period.
  • Obtain consent from any lender to ensure any concession/variation agreement is binding.
  • Advise on the efficacy of business interruption insurance.
  • Advise on whether a business falls within the list of businesses/premises that may reopen and the penalties for breaching the same.
  • Advising on ‘change of user’ provisions in a lease, specifically whether a business can lawfully change its business model to remain open e.g. restaurants to delivery and takeaway, hotels for ‘key workers’.

As we act for both landlords and tenants, we are well placed to advise on proposals that are realistic, workable and assist both parties.

Our team has experience in successfully facilitating these agreements during previous downturns.

Contact Bill Dunmore for further information.

This update is for general purpose and guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken before acting on any of the topics covered. No part of this update may be used, reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means without the prior permission of Brecher LLP.