The government is planning to introduce legislation to ringfence rent debt accrued during the pandemic by businesses affected by enforced closures and set out a process of binding arbitration to be undertaken between landlords and tenants.
This is to be used as a last resort, after negotiations have been undertaken and only where landlords and tenants cannot come to a resolution.
The government will be publishing the principles in a revised Code of Practice, to allow landlords and tenants time to negotiate on that basis.
Landlords of commercial properties are prevented from being able to evict tenants for the non-payment of rent until 25 March 2022 under current legislation to allow sufficient time for this new process to be put in place.
This only relates to rent arrears from March 2020 by commercial tenants affected by COVID-19 business closures until restrictions for their sector were removed. Landlords can evict tenants for the non-payment of rent prior to March 2020, after the end of restrictions for their sector or those who were not been affected by business closures during this period.