Measures to protect Tenant's from the impact of Covid-19 due to expire

Landlords and Tenants of commercial and residential properties will be waiting with bated breath over the coming days to see if existing measures that were put in place in response to Covid-19 to protect tenants, which are due to expire imminently, are extended.

The blanket freeze on possession actions, which was previously due to expire on 23 August 2020 but which was extended for a further 4 weeks days at the last minute, expires on Sunday 20 September 2020. Currently, as of Monday 21 September 2020, any stayed proceedings can be resurrected (more on that to follow in a separate article). Given that there are residential Landlords that have been waiting for the stay to be lifted before issuing proceedings, and many more wanting to progress existing claims to a conclusion sooner rather than later, Court staff dealing with possession claims are likely to be swamped (even more so than had been the case previously) for many weeks from Monday 21 September 2020.

In addition, the moratorium preventing action being taken by commercial Landlords to forfeit commercial leases on the basis of rent arrears expires on Wednesday 30 September 2020. Whilst the government has been actively encouraging commercial Landlords and Tenants to work together to ride out the Covid-19 storm, there is little doubt that there are some Landlords already preparing to take forfeiture action as soon as they can.

Considerable concern has been expressed by bodies representing residential and commercial Tenants as to the prospect of Tenants facing repossession action at a time when we it seems that we are on the cusp of a second wave and in the midst of significant economic uncertainty.

Whilst the Government has form for extending the protection provided to Tenants at the last minute, currently there appear to be no plans to extend the current measures. We can therefore, only watch on as the clock ticks down towards the existing deadlines and see whether the protection that has been put in place over the recent months is reinforced or disappears.

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