COVID-19: Government plans to publish a Code of Practice

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COVID-19: Government plans to publish a Code of Practice to assist discussions between high street businesses and landlords over rental payments

Among the very many measures that the Government is introducing to influence behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic, one that will be of particular interest to commercial landlords and tenants was announced late last week.

The Government has established a working group with the commercial rental sector to develop a Code of Practice to assist discussions between high street businesses and landlords over rental payments. The Government intends that the Code will:

  • Encourage fair and transparent discussions between landlords and tenants over rental payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, provide guidance on rent arrear payments and the treatment of those that are sub-letting and suppliers.
  • Be published before the next quarterly rent payment date of 24 June 2020.
  • Be a temporary measure. However, the Government will consider making the Code mandatory if necessary.

With the June quarter date looming, we wait with great interest to see how the Code will suggest that landlords and tenants navigate some of the unprecedented difficulties they face arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For advice in relation to your lease please feel free to contact Paul Harrington in our dispute resolution department or Dan Ongley in our commercial property department.