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Commercial property evictions: ban may be extended

Commercial property evictions – is a further extension on the way?

Businesses struggling to survive these turbulent times, may be thrown another lifeline by the government.

Tenants of commercial property, such as restaurants and shops have benefited from an eviction ban since April, making it illegal for them to be evicted for not paying rent. That ban is due to come to an end on 30 September.

However, the government is reported to be planning to extend the ban until the end of the year, giving tenants a few more months protection.

As the high street struggles to recover, the government is coming under increasing pressure to offer businesses more support, or risk surging unemployment figures as businesses fold.

Businesses in towns and city centres have not seen the much-needed increase in footfall since the lockdown lifted; people have been reluctant to return to their high street shops or office desks.

The extension will come as a welcome relief to tenants but will be a hard blow for some landlords, many of whom are facing financial difficulty themselves after seeing a huge fall in rent revenue.

It also has the potential to impact investors who will be less likely to want to pour their cash into the UK property market.

There are also concerns that many businesses who have the finances available to pay their rent have been wrongly using the scheme to avoid paying.

Sarah Naylor, partner and head of commercial and property, commented: “Some landlords were able to agree rent holiday’s with their tenants, but many other tenants face the prospect of having to repay all the outstanding rent when the ban comes to an end. I would urge landlords and tenants to try to find workable solutions.

“Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, if you need legal support either with your business operations, staffing issues or repayment terms, it is crucial that you act quickly.”

According to the Financial Times, the ban could come within the next few days, just in time for the next quarter rent bill which falls due at the end of September.

If you are affected by the commercial property evictions ban and would like to arrange an appointment with our business or employment experts, please call 01302 320621 or email info@athertongodfrey.co.uk 

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Have you served a defective Section 21 notice?

One of the requirements for serving a valid Section 21 notice on a tenant is that a current version of the government’s How to Rent guide has been served on the tenant prior to serving the Section 21 notice.

The How to Rent guide is frequently updated; the last update being 17 January 2018.

What this means to you

All new tenancies, renewals or fixed-term tenancies which become periodic (roll-over) must include a copy of the updated How to Rent Guide. If not then any Section 21 notice served on that tenant will be invalid and possession will not be granted.

This applies even if the tenant was served with the How to Rent guide at the start of the tenancy.

An example of how the rule applies:

Tenancy began 19 July 2017 – How to Rent guide served

Six month term ends

Tenancy renewed or periodic 19 January 2018 – new How to Rent guide served

Why it was changed

The amendments made were very minor changes removing any reference to the London mayor’s London Rental Standard, which was abolished in 2007. It is very likely that the guide will change again after April 2018 due to proposed changes to the law in relation to landlords and tenants, however, it is crucial that landlords do not wait for these changes but serve the updated version if they have any of the following:

  • New tenancies starting post 17.01.18
  • Renewal tenancies with a renewal date after 17.01.18
  • Any fixed-term tenancy that rolls over into a statutory periodic tenancy after 17.01.18

If you are a landlord or letting agent and are unsure of the rules and regulations in this area, we have experts on hand who would be happy to have a chat with you – call 01302 320621 today.