Commercial property landlords vitally need to reach an agreement with tenants with the help of legal advice now the eviction ban has been extended once again.
The comments were from property litigation specialist Cavendish Legal Group, which hit out at the government’s move to extend the ban by a further nine months to March 2022.
Jonathan Frankel, litigation partner at Cavendish Legal Group, said: “Commercial property landlords are going to be facing more difficult months ahead and while they will of course have to abide by the government’s ruling, it is still important to get the right legal advice.
“If a landlord is looking at months of arears from their tenant, it’s vital to work with them to try to reach an agreement, through mediation, and work towards an amicable resolution. This is where legal advice and solicitors will play a key role in facilitating that process.
“Due to the unprecedented times that we’re in, both sides of the dispute are going to be feeling aggrieved. Tenants will feel it’s through no fault of their own that their business has been closed for large parts of the last 18 months, but quite simply landlords rely on the rent for their own income and financial stability.
“So, making sure you clients get the right advice now will help to manage the issue nine months from now when the ban on evictions finally lifts.”
The commercial eviction ban was initially designed to help businesses until September 2020, while it was due to end on June 30 before this latest extension.
While the strictest of the social distancing rules have been lifted, businesses like pubs, restaurants and theatres are unable to operate at full capacity and are therefore struggling to turn a profit.
Frankel added: “There’s no doubt that sectors such as hospitality and retail have been hardest hit by the economic impact of coronavirus, with some estimates suggesting they are carrying around £5bn in rent debt.
“However, to make this announcement now, shortly after the eviction ban on residential tenants was lifted, only serves to generate more uncertainty among landlords, many of whom will feel they have another mountain to climb financially to get through this period.
“It also raises questions about what else the government may decide to extend further, such as the SDLT deadline, or the furlough scheme for instance. What it really does demonstrate is that it is going to take a significant number of years for the impact of coronavirus and its economic legacy to play out.”