On 29 May 2020, the government announced that it would be publishing a code of conduct to help guide and encourage landlords and tenants to work together to protect viable businesses and ensure a swift recovery. Whilst this would appear to be helpful, it is unclear as to why there has been no real guidance to date.
A number of restrictions have been put in place so far which has resulted in tenants refusing to pay rent and left landlords with limited options for rent recovery. I have certainly received a surge of instructions from both landlord and tenant clients regarding the March quarter's rent and it is a shame that guidance was not provided at the outset. Instead, parties have sought legal advice and have now incurred costs which could have been avoided if clearer guidance was in place earlier.
With the June quarter day approaching, there will be many landlords and tenants who are yet to reach an agreement in respect of the March quarter's rent. However, now that the high street is slowly re-opening, it will be interesting to see what the code of practice says and whether it will fairly balance the interests of both landlords and tenants. We will have to wait and see.
High street businesses and landlords are set to benefit from a new code of practice, which is in development to provide them with clarity and reassurance over rent payments.