Monday, 21 June 2021

COVID-19 COMPANY AND BUSINESS TENANCY NEWS - THE GOOD AND THE BAD

The restrictions on service on companies of statutory demands and the presentation of petitions to wind them up were due to run out on 30 June 2021. They have been extended until 30 September 2021 by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (Coronavirus) (Extension of Relevant Period) (No 2) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1718) which were laid before Parliament today 21 June 2021. However, what are not and will not be extended are the measures which protected company directors from complaints of 'wrongful trading' and the small trader exemption from termination clause provisions which will lapse on 30 June 2021. These changes apply throughout Great Britain. 

The government has announced that the ban on eviction measures against business tenants in England which was due to expire on 30 June 2021 will be extended to 25 March 2022 - legislation to give effect is awaited any minute - and that legislation is to be put before Parliament in the current session to ring fence rent arrears owed by business tenants and which have been run up during covid closures. Landlords and tenants will be helped - no the government won't be stumping up the cash! - to reach an agreement about the arrears. If no agreement is reached, the dispute will be settled by an arbitrator whose decision will be binding on both sides. The ring fencing scheme will not apply to rent which accrued due before March 2020 or is clocked up after all restrictions are lifted.

The increase in the amount of rent arrears outstanding from business tenants in England and Wales before notice of enforcement can be given and an enforcement agent can be sent in to seize property under the commercial rent arrears recovery scheme currently stands at 554 days. That's thanks to temporary covid legislation. This legislation is to be extended but the 554 days' worth will stand for the time being.

The covid ban on residential evictions in England has been lifted.