For those commercial tenants of viable businesses who have made as yet unresolved written proposals to landlords in respect of pandemic related rent debt pursuant to the Commercial rent code of practice following the COVID-19 pandemic – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), a timely reminder that if you are entitled to make an application for arbitration in respect of protected rent debt which potentially covers arrears for the period 20 March 2020 to 18 July 2021, the deadline to submit applications to an authorised arbitrator is before 23 September 2022.
Here is a link to some useful information about the commercial rent arrears arbitration scheme:
The approved Arbitration bodies to whom applications can be made are listed below with a link to their respective websites from which further information can be found about the cost and next steps.
- Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)
- Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
- Consumer Dispute Resolution
- Falcon Chambers Arbitration
- Dispute Resolution Ombudsman
- London Chamber of Arbitration and Mediation (LCAM)
- The Consumer Code for Online Dispute Resolution (CCODR)
Where commercial tenants are in discussions with their landlord that have not yet concluded, they may wish to proceed with an arbitration application while discussions continue in order to benefit from an extended moratorium period that limits what action the landlord can take against them pending the arbitration award or outcome of any appeal or agreement between the parties.
The temporary moratorium that was put in place for six months from 24 March 2022 restricting landlords as to what action they can take against tenants in respect of protected rent debt comes to an end on 23 September 2022 but where arbitration has commenced before that, the arbitration application will still proceed and during the arbitration period, the landlord will continue to be prevented, for example, from enforcing any right of forfeiture or re-entry for non-payment of protected rent debt; from relying on the tenant’s failure to pay protected rent debt as a reason for opposing an application for a new business tenancy; from using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) powers; from presenting winding-up petitions; from issuing debt proceedings and from drawing down from rent deposits or topping up rent deposits
If you require any specific advice or assistance about the issues referred to in this blog, or any other related issues, please contact Muscatt Black Graf by telephone on 0207 586 1141 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill in our online contact form.
This blog was prepared on 7 September 2022. It is not intended to be advice and should not be relied upon as such.