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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.