Commercial property agent Kilpatrick & Co has welcomed the publication of a new government Code of Practice for landlords and tenants.
The voluntary code provides a framework to encourage landlords and tenants to work together regarding payment of rent, service charges and insurance contributions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It comes into effect immediately and is intended to stay in place until June 2021.
Key points from the code include:
- If tenants can pay their rent, they should continue to do so.
- Landlords and tenants are encouraged to engage in constructive discussions for a solution, which may include rent deferment and concessions.
- Tenants should be prepared to be transparent with their financial situation in discussions with their landlord about rent payment issues.
- Tenants should pay service charges and insurance invoices as demanded as the landlord has incurred these costs.
- The stay on landlords taking action to repossess and forfeit leases for non-payment of rent is to be extended to September 2020.
- Restrictions on landlords using statutory demands and writing up proceedings where tenants are unable to pay rent due to Covid-19 are also being extended to September 2020.
- Tenants should use the Government’s support of grants and loans to pay their rent and other bills.
Andrew Kilpatrick, of Kilpatrick & Co, said; “Whilst the code is voluntary, it helpfully reminds tenants that where they can afford to pay rent they should, but where they cannot, an honest discussion should occur between the landlord and tenant with a view to reaching an agreement over rent payments.
"We, as managing agents, have spent considerable time engaging with all our clients’ tenants to try to reach amicable agreements.
"The challenge is made more difficult as the impact of the pandemic and lockdown on trade and high street footfall is a changing picture, and no-one knows how quickly trade will recover and the high streets return to some degree of normality.”