News Archive > 2021 > 2020 > 2019 > 2018 > 2017 > 2016 > 2015

CASE LAW UPDATE: RETAIL TENANTS RESPONSIBLE FOR RENT ARREARS DURING NATIONAL LOCKDOWN

Posted: 14th October 2021

In September 2021 a High Court Judge handed down a judgment in respect of outstanding rent and service charges which had accrued during the national Covid19 lockdown and had reached a staggering £2.9million.

The case was London Trocadero (2015) LLP v Picturehouse Cinemas Ltd [2021]. The tenants in this case (a cinema chain) argued that the rent should not be recoverable during the period in which it was illegal to trade (due to national lockdown) and during any period where foot fall would be less then anticipated (due to restrictions on numbers of customers allowed into the building).

The tenant raised a number of arguments and sought to rely upon the Code of Practice introduced by government during the pandemic. The Code strongly encourages landlords and tenants to communicate and negotiate rent arrears, rather than taking matters to court.

The judge confirmed that the Code was not law and that the parties should look to the terms of the lease when determining whether rent arrears were recoverable.  The judge found that there was no term in the lease stating that rent would not be payable in the event of a pandemic or other unforeseen event. The judge held that the tenant was responsible for all the rent and service charges which accrued during the pandemic.

This comes as another blow to tenants who are struggling to return their finances to pre-pandemic levels. Whilst the Code of Practice is not enforceable, it is there to encourage parties to negotiate. We can help both tenants and landlords with negotiations and assist parties reach amicable settlements.

This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon in place of specific legal advice. If you have a landlord and tenant query then please do not hesitate to contact our litigation team for advice and assistance.


FURLOUGH SCHEME DRAWING TO A CLOSE

Posted: 6th October 2021

Recent figures suggest that over 11 million jobs have been put on furlough over the last 18 months.

As the furlough scheme comes to an end on 30 September 2021, there is expected to be a surge in redundancies from 1 October 2021.

Whilst many employers will invite employees back to work on the same terms they were on prior to furlough, many more will consider offering a variation to terms such as reducing hours and/or pay by agreement. These options will help avoid redundancies however, a recent study by the British Chamber of Commerce has reported that nearly one in five companies are considering redundancies as they face the end of the furlough scheme.

Any redundancy dismissal must to be fair and a formal procedure must be followed by employers.

If you have a redundancy/employment query then please do not hesitate to contact our litigation team for advice and assistance.


NOTICES REQUIRING POSSESSION RETURN TO PRE-COVID LENGTH

Posted: 5th October 2021

On 1 October 2021, the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies and Notices) (Amendment and Suspension) (England) Regulations 2021 came into effect.

These regulations bring an end to the notice period extensions for numerous possession notices including notices served under Section 21 (non-fault notice) and Section 8 (breach of tenancy notice) of the Housing Act 1988.

During the pandemic notice periods were extended to 6 months and then gradually reduced. From 1 June 2021 the majority of notice periods were reduced to 4 months. Notice periods for cases where there were less than four months of unpaid rent, reduced to 2 months’ notice from 1 August 2021.

From 01 October 2021 all notices period returned to pre-covid lengths, including;

  • Section 21 – returns to 2 months’ notice
  • Section 8 for rent arrears – returns to 2 weeks’ notice

These new regulations only provide for a suspension to the extension of notice periods and as such, other covid related changes still remain in force until March 2022. It is quite possible that the government could reintroduce lengthier notice periods between now and March 2022.

With this in mind, any landlord seeking to gain possession should consider taking action before any potential further extensions to notice periods are reintroduced.

This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon in place of specific legal advice. If you have a landlord and tenant query then please do not hesitate to contact our litigation team for advice and assistance.

 


View our accreditations