New Laws to Protect Commercial Tenants From Eviction

November 12, 2021

New laws will protect commercial tenants affected by the coronavirus pandemic from eviction, it has been announced.

It comes after research revealed that a significant number of high street businesses are struggling to pay back commercial rent debt accrued during Covid-19 enforced closures.

According to the report, new laws and a Code of Practice will be introduced to help resolve commercial rent debt arrears disputes between tenants and landlords.

While commercial tenants are already protected from eviction until 25 March 2022, the new regulations will provide parties with the “time, space, and framework” to negotiate effectively.

The Government said the new Code of Practice will provide landlords and tenants with a “clear process” for settling outstanding debts before a new arbitration process comes into force.

If parties cannot come to a mutual agreement, new laws introduced in the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill will establish a legally-binding arbitration process for commercial landlords and tenants.

The new laws, which come into effect from 25 March 2022, will only apply to commercial rent debt related to the mandated closure of certain businesses – such as pubs, restaurants, and hotels.

The new laws and regulations will also protect commercial tenants from debt claims, including County Court Judgements (CCJs), High Court Judgements (HCJs) and bankruptcy petitions, issued against them in relation to rent arrears accrued during the pandemic.

Commenting on the move, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Today’s measures provide commercial landlords and tenants with the clarity and certainty they need to plan ahead and recover from the pandemic.

“We encourage landlords and tenants to keep working together to reach their own agreements ahead of the new laws coming into place, and we expect tenants capable of paying rent to do so.”

The new Code of Practice can be found here.

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