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Commercial rent arrears: the new law

andrew-koffman

Andrew Koffman

Guy Pattison

Guy Pattison

Late March saw the end of some long-standing temporary changes in the law due to COVID-19, and the introduction of some new ones!  Commercial landlords and tenants are affected.

From early in the first lockdown in 2020, commercial landlords were banned from exercising most of the usual remedies available to them to enforce rent arrears that fell due during the period of the pandemic, as a measure to protect tenant businesses.

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Changes to SDLT

Guy Pattison

One of the more surprising handouts from the chancellor in response to the pandemic was the stamp duty holiday. As it comes to an end we explore what impact this will have on the housing market.

SDLT is the tax you pay on property purchases. The amount you pay depends on the value of the purchase. Prior to July 2020, SDLT was payable on all properties priced over £125,000.

 

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Commercial rents – what happens once the moratorium lifts?

Fergal O'Cleirigh

Fergal O’Cleirigh

The statutory moratorium on lease forfeiture for commercial leases is set to expire at the end of June 2021. If it is not extended then tenants who have taken advantage of this will be required to resume rental payments as well as to pay any rent that has accrued during the moratorium.

We have received enquiries from tenants and landlords over the last few weeks anxious to understand what they can do about rent arrears and enquiring whether now is a good time to negotiate a new lease.

Our general thoughts on this are set out below. Obviously much will depend on your individual circumstances so it is important you seek specific advice before making any decisions.

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Major changes to Planning ‘use classes’ system

Guy Pattison

In a bid to make it easier to repurpose town centres and high streets across England and Wales, the Government has made major changes to the ‘use classes’ that businesses must operate within for planning purposes.

New regulations came into force on 1st September 2020 which significantly amended the 1987 Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order. A number of classes have been abolished and moved into a more generic Class E.

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Big reforms announced for leasehold property laws

Claire Morris

In January 2021, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government unveiled sweeping changes that they plan to implement to the home ownership rules that, according to their press release will be part of “the biggest reforms to English property law for 40 years, fundamentally making home ownership fairer and more secure”.

Freehold or leasehold – what’s the difference?

Owners of flats and houses in England and Wales can either own the freehold which means they own the property and land it occupies or the leasehold which means they own the property and have a legal right to occupy the land but the land is owned by a third party. These reforms are aimed at leasehold property.

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Six Promotions at Bermans

Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson

Bermans, commercial law firm in Liverpool and Manchester, is delighted to announce that it has promoted 6 individuals to more senior roles at the firm.

Andrew Henderson (left) joined Bermans in 1985 and has developed an expertise in asset finance litigation.  He has been made a Partner and joins Alex Chapman, David Gledhill and Jonathan Berkson as partners in the specialist Asset Based Lending team that is ranked in the Legal 500 London Asset Finance Lending rankings.

He deals with matters such as fraud, freezing orders, title claims, delivery up claims, guarantee/indemnity claims, shortfalls and general debt recovery for a wide range of asset based lenders.

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Practical advice for Landlords and Tenants of commercial property

Guy Pattison

Guy Pattison

COVID 19 has left our city centres empty with office workers working from home and staying out of the office, shoppers shopping online with shops closed, restaurants and cafes closed or providing collection only services. As businesses have suffered a dramatic drop in revenue they have looked to reduce overheads in the short term to aid their survival.

One of the big overheads that they have been able to postpone is rent on commercial properties with emergency COVID 19 legislation ensuring that tenants cannot be evicted/leases forfeited for rent arrears.

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