Yesterday, the Government presented the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill to Parliament - this is due to come into force by 25 March 2022.

Alongside the Bill, the Government has also updated its "Code of practice for commercial property relationships following the COVID-19 pandemic".  

A copy of the Bill, as published, can be found here

The updated Code of practice can be found here.

In broad terms, the Bill sets out the detail of the Government's binding arbitration scheme in respect of commercial rent arrears that have been accrued as a result of tenants being "adversely affected by coronavirus". It also confirms the principles which the appointed arbitrators will be required to apply when deciding whether a landlord or a tenant should be required to shoulder the burden of such arrears.

The Code of practice is non-binding (unlike the Bill, once passed by Parliament) and sets out the Government's expectations as to how landlord and tenants will resolve disputes relating to Covid-19 rent arrears. It also includes a summary of how the Government expects the binding arbitration process to work (albeit the exact detail of the process must first be approved by Parliament).

We will share our views on the Bill and the Code of practice shortly, together with a summary of the key provisions. We will also monitor the Bills progress through Parliament and keep you informed of any important developments. If you have any queries, or would like advice on how the Bill may affect you, please do get in touch.