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The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill and pandemic rent arrears

1st December 2021 by Mark Timberlake

Categories: Covid-19, What's New?
Tags: , , ,

The current moratorium on commercial landlords evicting tenants, exercising the right to seize goods or taking insolvency proceedings against them because of rent arrears is due to come to an end on 25 March 2022.

There is currently no prohibition on suing the tenant in the courts for rent arrears and obtaining a judgement for them which can then be enforced using court procedures such as court bailiffs or freezing bank accounts.

The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill has been introduced in Parliament on 9 November 2021, along with a new Code of practice for commercial property relationships following the COVID-19 pandemic The government aims to pass the Bill by 25 March 2022, subject to parliamentary approval.

The Bill will only apply to commercial rent arrears that accrued while businesses were forced to close during the pandemic. It will introduce a statutory arbitration process (statutory arbitration) for commercial landlords and tenants in England and Wales who have not already reached an agreement. Any agreements made voluntarily before the Bill comes into force will not be affected.

While statutory arbitration is in progress, the other remedies available to landlords will be temporarily unavailable, to give priority to the arbitration process. In addition, where debt claims have been initiated on or after 10 November 2021 but before the Bill is in force, they will be frozen if one of the parties applies for a stay, to enable the matter to be resolved by statutory arbitration or otherwise. Where judgment has been given in respect of a protected rent debt in that period, the matter may still be subject to statutory arbitration and enforcement will be stayed.

Laceys has been advising commercial landlords and tenants throughout the pandemic. For advice on this specialist area contact the team at



Mark Timberlake

Managing Partner — Dispute Resolution

Direct dial: 01202 377863


Mark Timberlake
  • “The advice Mark gave was very good value for money and the combination of strictly accurate legal advice and common sense were exactly what I needed.”

    Nick Stocks. Director, Spitfire Court Properties Ltd.

  • “Mark Timberlake is an exceptional solicitor. He has a huge depth of knowledge in his speciality and looks after his clients in a very kind and patient manner. Mark is unfailingly courteous and always a pleasure to deal with. I am always confident in any matter that Mark has dealt with.”

    Jane Balmforth

  • “We have had many years of top class professional advice and assistance in many respects of our property ownership. However great our worries initially, matters have been dealt with in a most professional manner and to our satisfaction.”

    Michael Filer, Bourne Court Consortium

Mark qualified as a solicitor in 1989 and since then has specialised in property and landlord and tenant disputes, possession and debt recovery in relation to both commercial and residential property. He has extensive experience in relation to issues involving blocks of flats including representation in the Property Chamber and the courts. He has also dealt with many commercial disputes, professional negligence and insolvency claims.

He has frequently given talks on the law as it affects managing agents through the Association of Residential Managing Agents and other groups.

He has been recommended for many years by the Legal 500 Guide to the Legal profession which has said that Mark ‘is very highly rated by clients’, ‘explains complex issues in understandable terms’ and ‘is excellent in really difficult situations’. 

Mark is married with 2 teenage children and at weekends can often be found on his boat which he sails competitively.

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