12 July 2021

The waiting game for Landlords continues for a further 9 months

Jenna Emsley-Fairbrass Senior Paralegal Team Leader

The moratorium on evicting commercial tenants over unpaid rent was due to expire on 30th June but has now been extended for another nine months.

In April last year, we saw the government block legal attempts to evict retail, hospitality and other businesses that had stopped paying rent, to take off the economic pressures caused as a direct result of the pandemic.

The delay in easing lockdown restrictions announced on Monday this week, of course presents additional challenges to business but most will be thinking that the balance has not been struck up correctly between protecting landlords and supporting businesses that are most in need of help and who cannot pay rent due to not being able to trade as they normally would.

Landlords have already voiced their dismay for almost a year and half now and have just had to ‘deal with it’. Some landlords have not received rent for months and months and they are simply unable to do anything about it.

The latest figures show from trade groups UK Hospitality and British Retail Consortium that there is a combined debt value estimated to be in the region of £5bn in relation to rent arrears. Data from the first quarter of 2021 shows that only 74% of rent was collected by landlords in the 60 days following the end period after tenants were affected by the pandemic.

It appears that we are sat waiting for the rent arrears time bomb to go off and it is left in the lap of landlords to continue to struggle through. It is clear that this situation is going to make the end position worse for both landlords and tenants and of course we have those businesses who are sadly taking advantage of this situation even though they are fully capable of paying their rent. Breathing space should be given in the correct circumstances and more discretion is ultimately needed.

At Wilkin Chapman the Property Recoveries team have looked at developing a fresh strategy in how we approach collecting commercial rent arrears and how we continue to support landlords through their ongoing battle.

Our dedicated team provides a flexible and tailored recovery process. Communication is at the heart of our service. We understand that it is important for landlords to maintain a relationship with their tenants and that due to the moratorium we need to take a fair approach and all work together to reach a solution that is agreeable for both parties.

Stage 1 – Open lines of communication

Our dedicated team will make contact with the tenant over the phone, by email, letter or via our text service. We will talk to them about their current situation and try to work with them in reaching a solution to clear their arrears.

Stage 2 – Feedback to the landlord – Agree strategy

After our initial communication with the tenant we will discuss our findings with you so that we can implement an effective plan for recovery moving forward.

Stage 3 – Implement the strategy and monitor a reasonable repayment arrangement considering court action as necessary such as issuing a County Court Claim Form with a view of entering a County Court Judgment (CCJ) against the tenant. Once the CCJ has been entered, enforcement action can commence and we can obtain a Writ of Control instructing High Court Enforcement Agents to attend and levy on goods.

If you are interested in hearing more about how we can help you, please contact Jenna Emsley-Fairbrass on 01472 253939 or email jenna.emsley-fairbrass@wilkinchapman.co.uk

Need Help?

Contact Jenna to discuss this further.

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