Mid-July 2022 saw the first two published decisions under the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022, concerning protected rent debts for businesses which suffered during the pandemic.
So what did we learn?
In the first decision, the owner of Ernst Jones and H Samuel sought relief for payment of rent arrears of almost £450,000 in respect of its head offices on the grounds that the premises were subject to a closure requirement from 26 March 2020 as a result of regulations made by the Government on that date, even though the premises themselves were not required to close.
The landlord contended that the regulations only applied to the tenant's retail shops, and not its head offices.
The arbitrator found that the offices were not subject to a closure requirement and as such no relief was granted.
In the second decision, a procedural point was considered where the Respondent/Landlord sought to amend its proposal for what it called an "input error" in the financial evidence in its proposal, but which the tenant argued was more than an input error and sought to adopt a different methodology altogether.
The arbitrator made an award that the amendments sought to be made by the Landlord were beyond the scope of an input error and found that the Landlord was not entitled to change its proposal, although no decision on the substantive application has yet been made.
A further decision is expected shortly, and it is hoped that we will have additional clarification as to how relief applications will be treated very soon.
Watch this space!
For information on property disputes, including Covid arbitration enquiries please contact our Real Estate Dispute Resolution team.