Many businesses and individuals are experiencing financial difficulties
during the Covid-19 pandemic. With some companies unable to trade and many
people experiencing a drop in income, landlords of both commercial and
residential properties may find that their tenants are unable to pay the
rent on time or in full.
To take the pressure off tenants, the government has placed a moratorium on
forfeiture proceedings for commercial leases until 30 June and has extended
the minimum notice period for residential possession claims from 2 months
to 3 months for claims made up to 30 September.
Most landlords will not, in any case, wish to evict their tenants during
the pandemic. It will be in landlords’ interests to help tenants weather
the storm so that normal trading can resume once the lockdown is lifted.
Landlords may also face other issues during this pandemic or during other
cases of emergency. Emergency laws or government guidance may mean that
changes need to be made to the way in which property is managed. It may not
be possible to provide services to tenanted property in the same way as
normal, perhaps because social distancing rules make it impossible to
provide certain facilities. Landlords may need temporarily to close parts
of a building or, in an extreme case, to close an entire building.
Residential tenants may have to work from home, even though their tenancy
agreement prohibits this.
The new Emergency Management Letters for both commercial and residential
landlords are designed to help landlords address these issues. They cover
rent concessions and other temporary changes to tenancy arrangements. They
can be used during the current pandemic but are also suitable for other
The documents relating to possession proceedings under Section 8 and
Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 have been amended to reflect the
extended notice period.
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute
legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific