With many tenants struggling due to the pandemic and the Government’s desire to protect jobs and businesses, including those forced to close, we have seen landlords’ remedies for non-payment of rent significantly curtailed.
The enforcement measures normally open to landlords such as forfeiture (or re-entry) which is the process by which a landlord exercises a right under a lease to terminate it, is currently prohibited. There are also restrictions on the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR). CRAR allows a landlord to instruct an enforcement agent to take control of a tenant's goods and sell them in order to recover an equivalent value to any rent arrears.
With such measures having recently been extended until 30 June 2021, the Government announced on Tuesday a call for evidence to inform decision making on the best way to withdraw or replace these measures while preserving tenant businesses and the millions of jobs that they support.
With the Government's press release making clear that further measures are not ruled out, both landlords and tenants will very eagerly await the outcome of the call for evidence to understand its impact.
The government’s objective is to gather more evidence to understand how landlords and tenants are responding to the build-up of rent arrears that has occurred as a result of businesses being unable to trade normally during the pandemic. If there is evidence that productive discussions between landlords and tenants are not taking place, and that this represents a substantial and ongoing threat to jobs and livelihoods, the government will not hesitate to intervene further.