What happens if I need to sign a new commercial lease in the future?
The outbreak is certainly going to have an impact on new lease negotiations.
Undoubtedly many transactions will be put on hold or indeed stop entirely. Where matters are ongoing, tenants may well look to strengthen rent suspension provision.
It is also possible that tenants and their representatives will also now seek to include termination rights for unseen events. In this regard, the concept of force majeure may start to appear more often in leases.
In both of the examples above, such attempts are not likely to be well received from landlords who will undoubtedly suggest that tenants ensure that their business interruption insurance policies are robust enough to protect the tenant in the event of any future pandemic events.
Another approach tenants might adopt going forwards in negotiations for a new lease (or indeed seeking to vary existing leases), is to move away from the traditional market rent model to a turnover rent arrangement. This will offer some protection going forward if trading conditions deteriorate, but again getting institutional landlords to agree such an approach may prove difficult.
- Be alert to the fact that guidance on treating Covid-19 may change with emerging knowledge/scientific data and this may require subsequent modifications to treatment.
- Critical care staff should support healthcare professionals who do not routinely work in critical care but need to do so.
The guidance states that people should aim to wear a face-covering in indoor spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others, for example on public transport or in some shops, and potentially in the workplace. Face coverings do not mean face masks such as clinical masks worn by certain key workers as PPE, which should be reserved for those people.
Staff working in areas that are open to the public must wear face coverings, this includes:
- estate agents
- post offices
- public areas of hotels and hostels
If these businesses have taken steps in line with Health and Safety Executive guidance for COVID-19 secure workplaces to create a physical barrier between workers and members of the public then staff behind the barrier will not be required to wear a face covering.
For other indoor settings, employers should assess the use of face coverings on a case by case basis depending on the workplace environment, other appropriate mitigations they have put in place, and whether reasonable exemptions apply.
In making a Traffic Regulation Order (“TRO”) local authorities must follow the regulations, which include provisions relating to publicity requiring publishing the notice in a local newspaper, making the orders available for public inspection at a Council’s offices (which are likely to be closed to the public during this time) and where considered appropriate, posting the notices on the streets.
In recognition of the potential difficulties with complying with the publicity requirements, the Department for Transport has issued guidance as to how a Council may still publicise a TRO. The guidance recognises that not everyone may be able to access local newspapers online and suggests that people and organisations could be adequately informed by means of letter, leaflet drops, or local radio. In respect of making the relevant document available at the Council’s offices, the guidance suggests that notices could be placed online or outside offices with brief details and including a telephone number or email to use to request a hard copy of the documents.
While the guidance is helpful, it is important to note that it is guidance only and that the regulations have not been relaxed. Authorities will still need to demonstrate that they have satisfied all of the publicity arrangements in respect of the TRO.
Residents will be obliged to:
- Not act in a way that creates a significant risk of a building safety risk materialising
- Not interfere with building safety equipment in the common parts
- Comply with an Accountable Person’s request for information in relation to the assessment and management of building safety risks.
The Accountable Person then has powers in relation to these duties, including:
- Issuing a contravention notice, requiring a resident to pay for replacement or repair of safety equipment which they have interfered with
- Applying for court orders in certain situations
- Requesting access at a reasonable time (in writing with at least 48 hours’ notice) to a resident’s property for the purposes of assessing or managing building safety risks, or checking compliance with the resident’s duties as above.
Secondary legislation is still awaited to bring these provisions into force, so the timing is unknown, but it will likely be within the next 12 months in line with the anticipated timetable for the remainder of the Act.
The Chancellor announced:
- A new “job retention bonus” for employers to access for furloughed employees subject to certain conditions being met – see below for more information.
- A “Kickstart scheme” which will directly pay employers to create jobs for any 16-24 year old at risk of long-term unemployment.
- Incentives for employers to take on apprentices.
As a result of the CJRS being extended, the Job Retention Bonus will no longer be paid in February 2021.