Following a surge in calls asking for advice from those either owning or leasing commercial premises guidance on how landlords and tenants can approach commercial property issues caused by the Covid-19 shutdown has been issued by Thursfields Solicitors.
Robert Pettigrew, a Director in the Commercial Property department at Thursfields, said: “Landlords and tenants may be considering whether rent payments can be withheld or suspended due to the market downturn caused by Covid-19.
As a starting point, you should review your lease to see if there are any relevant provisions, although it would be unusual for a rent suspension clause to be triggered by anything other than damage or destruction to the property.
However, uncertainty surrounding the economic implications of Covid-19 may mean that both parties are forced to negotiate practical solutions to allow the tenant to remain in occupation throughout this period.
These arrangements can be documented by either a side letter or Deed of Variation to the Lease, and it would also be prudent to explore whether any government grants or reliefs are available.”
The comments come as many retailers are already in talks with their landlords to change what were quarterly rent payments to monthly payments for cashflow purposes.
Robert added: “As always, it’s best for landlords and tenants to be open with each other about these issues, and to work together to find solutions that work for both sides.
But in doing this, it’s imperative that both parties get the right legal advice to protect their positions and livelihoods.”
For advice from Thursfields’ Commercial Property team, call Robert Pettigrew on 0121 796 4022 or email him at email@example.com.