The commercial rent arrears moratorium ends today. Section 82 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which has protected commercial tenants from eviction, is repealed and replaced with a binding arbitration scheme to resolve disputes concerning unpaid rent arising from Covid-19 business closures. It’s estimated that total unpaid rent currently stands at an incredible £7.5 billion.
First launched on 26th March 2020, the moratorium gave tenants protection from “aggressive” action by their landlords, including eviction. The moratorium was subsequently extended to 30th June 2021, and then to 25th March 2022. When the last extension was announced on 16th June 2021, the government introduced new legislation aimed at ringfencing all unpaid rent accumulated as a result of a business having to remain closed during the pandemic.
The “binding arbitration” process will come into force from today (25th March), aimed at settling disputes. If parties cannot reach an agreement, either or both of them have a period of six months from the date the legislation came into force to refer their dispute for determination by an arbitrator.
For more information see: Covid-related commercial rent arrears: new arbitration scheme from March 2022