The Coronavirus Act 2020 already provides protection to tenants, by prohibiting landlords from forfeiting (re-taking possession) business leases until 30 June 2020 for non-payment of rent. However, until now, it has allowed landlords to use other forms of enforcement.
This is soon to change. On 23 April 2020, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced further measures to protect tenants who are unable to pay their rent due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Landlords will not be able to use statutory demands or issue winding up petitions to recover unpaid rent until at least 30 June 2020.
Whilst this is welcome news for tenants, landlords, particularly smaller landlords with a modest portfolio, may find themselves in the difficult position of not receiving rent and having to wait until the restrictions are lifted before being able to take action to recover it.
The government will temporarily ban the use of statutory demands (made between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020) and winding up petitions presented from Monday 27 April, through to 30 June, where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus.