Since March 2020, an unprecedented number of tenants have withheld rent because of the impact that COVID-19 has had on their cash flow, given the inability of many to trade due to various government restrictions. There are also an unprecedented number of landlords facing financial difficulty and pressure from investors as a result of reduced rental income.
This tension between landlords and tenants has been exacerbated by repeated lockdowns and restrictions on certain sectors since the beginning of the pandemic. Coupled with the seemingly endless extensions to the moratoriums introduced to protect tenants, the struggle by both landlords and tenants to protect their business interests has framed the rental market throughout the past 18 months.
The significant changes to the Code of Practice for commercial property relationships following the COVID-19 pandemic (the Code of Practice), published on 9 November 2021, provides an introduction to the purpose, scope and application of the draft Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill (the Bill).