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Forfeiture of Commercial Leases

Andrew Koffman

Landlords cannot at present evict their tenants due to rent arrears, as one of a number of Government measures introduced to ease the burden on businesses due to the Coronavirus.  Tenants will have welcomed this measure; their landlords almost certainly less so.

It makes no difference if the rent arrears pre-date the pandemic.

There are parallel – though slightly different – restrictions on landlords of residential properties.  In this article we focus primarily on commercial leases, where there is a prohibition on landlords taking any repossession action through the courts, currently until 30 September.

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Don’t Let Your Debtors Lock You Down!

Andrew Koffman

Reviewing and implementing your credit control procedures

COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown are having a huge impact on the cashflow of most businesses.  25% of UK businesses have temporarily closed down; 38% of businesses still in operation have reported substantially lower turnover; and 36% of firms have 3 months or less of cash reserves left.

Inevitably this pressure on businesses is set to continue but there is also an opportunity for SMEs to improve your cash position by good housekeeping.  The Government is encouraging a culture of forbearance between businesses at present but this should not require you to take an excessively lenient approach to recovering debts that are rightfully due.

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Free legal audit for your business

Michael Smeaton

Michael Smeaton

We frequently advise business owners on disputes that arise due to poorly drafted contracts, outdated documentation or business relationships in which the terms have never been documented in writing – leading to confusion between the parties as to what the actual terms are. These disputes can prove costly and time consuming for businesses of any size.

Once these disputes have arisen, business owners will often ‘kick themselves’ for not reviewing their contracts for years or letting relationships form without any formal written documentation but, as with many things in life, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

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Will I get my costs back? Update

andrew-koffman

Andrew Koffman

We shared this article in February 2017 and then this article in July 2017, which explained the current rules on recovery of costs by the winner of a court action from the loser. It had been proposed to introduce a “fixed recoverable costs” regime for business and other civil disputes, similar to the one for minor personal injury claims.

Two years on, what if anything has changed?

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Unsafe cladding concerns for apartment leaseholders and freeholders

Andrew Koffman

Andrew Koffman

The Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 left 72 people dead, many injured and hundreds homeless and shone a spotlight on the construction of high-rise apartments. It was quickly concluded that the Aluminium Composite Material (ACM), that was used to clad the building, was the reason why the fire spread so rapidly and extensively.

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Will I get my costs back? Update

andrew-koffman

Andrew Koffman

In February 2017 we shared this article and in July 2017 we shared this article, which explained the current rules on recovery of costs by the winner of a court action from the loser. It had been proposed to introduce a “fixed recoverable costs” regime for business and other civil disputes, similar to the one for minor personal injury claims.

Two years on, what if anything has changed?

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Protect your home from the fraudsters

andrew-koffmanOur lives are moving more online and sadly this has resulted in a rise in financial scams. A recent poll of over 2000 individuals by YouGov and Lloyds Bank found 10% of them had been the victim of a financial scam. Property transactions are particularly vulnerable, with high values involved and often time is of the essence. There are numerous cases where solicitors and sellers have been duped into sending the sales proceeds to fraudsters, or buyers have paid the purchase money to someone who was not the real owner.

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Is Forfeiture the Answer?

michael_smeatonLocal high streets, town centres and out of town retail parks are all sporting empty units as retailers continue to find market conditions tough. In the last 12 months we have seen some big names disappear such as House of Fraser, HMV and Better Bathrooms and we have seen other retailers reduce their portfolio by closing stores such as Marks and Spencer and John Lewis.

Commercial landlords will normally have an early warning when businesses are struggling as they will often default on rental payments. Depending on the terms of the lease, landlords may have the right to forfeit the lease for non-payment, bringing the lease to an end and giving the landlord an opportunity to re-let the property. But in these tough times is that the landlord’s best option?

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