The Government has announced what has been deemed the final extension to the current commercial moratoriums that have been in place since the commencement of COVID-19.
These restrictions relate to forfeiture and the restriction of statutory demands/winding up petitions until the end of March 2021. The moratorium extension also includes the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) to recover unpaid rent.
While it is recognised that the government has limited options as a result of the current lockdown measures, the moratorium extension will place further financial pressure on commercial landlords given the significant levels of unpaid rent since the March rent quarter. During the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, we have seen the administration of Intu and a number of regional shopping centres. This is likely to be a continuing trend given the ongoing levels of financial distress on the UK high street and has led to the recent collapse of the both the Arcadia and Edinburgh Woollen Mills groups.
Review of landlord and tenant legislation
The Secretary of State has also announced a review of the outdated commercial landlord and tenant legislation which will look to address sector concern that the current framework does not reflect ongoing and future economic conditions. Landlords have already seen tenant requests for five-year lease terms, three-year mutual break clauses and turnover rent demands. Any change to existing legislation will require better collaboration between commercial landlords and tenants to ensure high streets and town centres prosper as the UK looks to recover from the pandemic.
By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. This briefing does not constitute advice nor a recommendation relating to the acquisition or disposal of investments. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.
Tax legislation is that prevailing at the time, is subject to change without notice and depends on individual circumstances. Clients should always seek appropriate tax advice before making decisions. HMRC Tax Year 2022/23.
HMRC Tax Year 2020/21.
This article was previously published on Smith & Williamson prior to the launch of Evelyn Partners.