3PB produces new property law guide on Covid-19 and changing the locks in the lockdown

9th April 2020

3PB Barristers' Property & Estates team has issued a new guide, authored by 3PB property barristers Charles IrvineCharles IrvineCall: 2010 and Rebecca FarrellRebecca FarrellCall: 2016, on the rights of commercial landlords and their tenants, both prior to the 2020 Act and now and offer practical solutions in these very challenging times for retailers and the commercial property sector.

In particular, the guide deals with the existing position for commercial landlords and their tenants, such as the rights of re-entry and forfeiture, renewals and/or the continuation of existing tenancies under the 1954 Act.  Comment is also made on the scope of the 2020 Act itself and whether, for example, a ‘keep open’ clause that is breached during the pandemic could provide a ground for enforcing a right of re-entry or forfeiture.

The guide recommends a case by case consideration of proposed proceedings now during Covid-19 lockdown and the options for landlords and tenants, taking into account in particular how the courts are operating presently.

For example, options for landlords (depending on the breach in question and the identity of the tenant) include seeking to enforce a right of re-entry or forfeiture; presenting a winding up petition; bringing proceedings against the tenant for rental arrears; taking action against a guarantor and recovering rental arrears from any deposit held.  Whereas, options for tenants include considering varying the existing lease, lowering rent, obtaining consent from the landlord to sub-let the property, surrendering the lease to bring your obligations under it to an end, entering into an insolvency arrangement (for example a CVA) and avoiding personal liabilities in defaulting under the lease.

To discuss this further with Charles or Rebecca, please contact Chambers Director Mark Heath to schedule a suitable time for a video or telephone conference, by emailing him on mark.heath@3pb.co.uk or by calling 07855 377452.