Arbitration process for commercial landlords and tenants nearly with us
As at late February 2022, The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill is nearing completion.
It has passed through the House of Commons and is nearly at the final reading stage in the House of Lords. If approved, it will pass into the final stages and become The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022.
Despite representations by certain interested parties, what is clear is that time will continue to be very much be of the essence.
There are two primary reasons for this. Firstly, parties still have only 6 months from introduction of the Act to refer to arbitration. Given the pre-referral notice obligations, and the need to wait up to 28 days after this notice, this is in effect a maximum of 5 months. Secondly, if a proposal is received you only have a limited period of time to put forward a counter-proposal, which must be supported by evidence, although extensions may be possible. Given there are substantial matters that must be considered in negotiations, there may not be the luxury of time in preparing a response.
Parties that want to invoke the scheme should be ready to do so when the Act comes into force (or shortly thereafter); parties that do not need to have the information ready to respond at that time. In either case, this doesn’t mean instructing the professional advisers right now, but it does mean collating the relevant information to be able to quickly move at the right time.