‘Coronavirus’ rent renegotiation code to be introduced for commercial landlords and tenants

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Government has set up a working group to nail down the code, which will apply during the pandemic and will help spread the financial burdens created by the crisis across the sector.

A code of practice that will encourage ‘fair and transparent’ rent payment discussions between commercial landlords and tenants has been announced by the government.

Yet to be issued, a working group has been established to hammer out the code following a consultation with industry bodies.

Once the new code is published, it will apply as long as the Coronavirus crisis continues.

The announcement coincides with separate news from lenders’ trade body UK Finance, which says its members will continue to support commercial landlords ahead of the second quarter rent payment deadline on June 25th.

This is likely to trigger another wave of rent payment deferral requests from tenants, an issue that the new working group is to examine alongside how sub-letters and suppliers should be treated.

The government says the key aim of code will be to encourage all the players in the commercial property sector to shoulder the financial burden of the crisis.

“We expect all parties to come to the table so our high streets and town centres are in the best possible position to come back from these challenges,” says Housing secretary Robert Jenrick.

“We are giving clarity to landlords and tenants who are both facing equal pressures on their finances so they are all able to stabilise their finances and bounce back.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also been involved in the decision to formulate the code, saying: “We continue to work with lenders to ensure flexible support is provided to commercial landlords, including payment holidays and restructuring facilities, and it is right that where landlords receive support, they extend this to their tenants.”

Read more about commercial property and the Coronavirus.

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