Coronavirus legislation: ban on evictions for business tenancies

March 25, 2020

The Coronavirus Bill currently going through the UK parliament has provisions relating to business tenancies in England and Wales to protect against forfeiture etc.

Landlords should be aware that for business tenancies, from the day after the act is passed until 30 June 2020 no action for forfeiture or re-entry for non-payment of rent can be commenced, and there are important rules for claims already on foot.

Re-entry or forfeiture

Between the day after the date on which the Act is passed and 30 June 2020 (unless further extended) (“Relevant Period”), a right of re-entry or forfeiture for non-payment of rent cannot be enforced by action or otherwise (i.e. peaceable re-entry).

During the Relevant Period, no conduct by or on behalf of a landlord is to be regarded as waiving the right to re-enter or forfeit for non-payment of rent, unless expressly waived in writing.

In High Court proceedings already commenced for re-entry or forfeiture for non-payment of rent, no order can be made requiring possession before the end of the Relevant Period (i.e. 30 June 2020 unless that date is further extended by regulations).

In High Court proceedings where an order has already been made requiring possession which falls during the Relevant period, and before possession is given an application is made by the tenant to vary that order, possession cannot be given before the end of the Relevant period (i.e. 30 June 2020 unless that date is further extended by regulations).

In County Court proceedings already commenced for re-entry or forfeiture for non-payment of rent, relief from forfeiture cannot specify a date for giving possession which is earlier than the end of the Relevant Period (i.e. 30 June 2020 unless that date is further extended by regulations).

In County Court proceedings where an order has already been made or extended specifying a date which expires during the Relevant Period, it is to be extended to the end of the Relevant Period (i.e. 30 June 2020 unless that date is further extended by regulations).

Landlord and Tenant Act 1954

When the court is considering whether there is persistent delay in payment of rent which has become due for the purposes of s.30(1)(b), the time during the Relevant Period is to be disregarded.