Can I enact a rent suspension clause in my commercial lease?
Most rent suspension clauses in commercial property leases are unlikely to come to the assistance of the tenant. These clauses normally apply only where the premises has suffered substantial physical damage and are, as a consequence, incapable of being occupied, used or accessed. The coronavirus pandemic does not involve any physical damage to a property, loss from the crisis will be purely financial. Such losses then will not be covered by the landlord’s buildings insurance policy in a way that will allow a tenant to claim rent suspension.
- Is the individual held out as being employed by the business by having a company email address, uniform, how would they introduce themselves to customers?
- Is the contractor restricted from working for other organisations without the consent of the end user client?
- Length of engagement:
- Is the contractor engaged to work on a specific project for a defined period? Or are they engaged for an indefinite period with no reference to a specific task or project?
- Are there regular fixed payments or is payment on completion of specific task or commission based? Is the contractor entitled to benefits or bonuses?
- Does the contractor provide their own equipment and materials to provide the services?
- Financial risk:
- Is the contractor personally responsible for any loss arising from their work in performing the services? Will they have to rectify unsatisfactory work at their own time and expense? Will they have the opportunity to profit from the success of a project?
This free Getting back to business webinar was held on Thursday 7th May.
On this video, employment partner Edward Nuttman and Graham Vials went through what a consultation exercise is and when you are required to hold one. They then took you step by step through the process, describing all you will need to do to ensure legal compliance whilst at the same time being sensitive to the emotional and motivational impact on your employees and managers.
The best advice is that parties should proceed as they would have done before the crisis began.
Employers have a statutory right to require employees to take annual leave at their direction, subject to providing staff with notice equal to at least double the length of the leave that you are directing them to take (e.g. 10 days’ notice for five days leave). However, this measure is not likely to achieve any urgent cost savings or alleviate immediate cash-flow pressure as holidays would need to be paid.
Clearly, annual leave can be taken on furlough so you could have staff on furlough and annual leave.
Yes. The Land Registry published a new service update on 14 May, here:
Importantly, the Land Registry will process registrations where documents have been executed using the Mercury signing approach:
For land registration purposes, a signature page will need to be signed in pen and witnessed in person (not by a video call). The signature will then need to be captured, with a scanner or a camera, to produce a PDF, JPEG or other suitable copy of the signed signature page. Each party sends a single email to their conveyancer to which is attached the final agreed copy of the document and the copy of the signed signature page.
To summarise some further points:
- Most information enquiries are experiencing minimal delays
- Registrations of new titles, such as on sales of part or new leases, and applications to update existing titles, are experiencing more significant delays but can be expedited via the expedite service
- Cancellation dates for replying to requisitions are extended until further notice
- Access to free documents on the land registry portal has been extended to 90 days from completion of the transaction
- Identity requirements have been relaxed. The Land Registry will now raise a requisition for identity documents, and not cancel applications
- Requests for extensions to a notice or objection period will be granted if lawfully possible
- Land charges searches can be submitted electronically with PDF documents