On 23 March 2020, in response to business disruptions caused by the spread of the coronavirus (“COVID-19”), the UK Government announced that commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction.
These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be evicted from its premises if it fails to pay its rent in the next three months.
The move will be welcomed by thousands of retailer, businesses, and firms given the impending quarterly rental payment due to landlords on Wednesday 25 March 2020, but, of course, will have ensuing consequences for landlords and their lenders.
The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent. It will last until 30 June, with an option for the government to extend if needed.
Commercial tenants will be liable for the rent after this period, and the Government said it was in talks with debt-laden landlords and monitoring the cash flow of affected property firms. The amendment to the Coronavirus Bill on commercial leases will apply to England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and to all commercial tenants.