On 25 March 2020 the Coronavirus Act 2020 (the Act) was passed into legislation, which introduced various measures to protect commercial tenants, particularly those in the retail and leisure sector that had been forced to close their doors due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Section 82 of the Act is intended to protect commercial tenants by precluding commercial landlords from forfeiting leases and evicting the tenant for non-payment of rent. This measure is initially in place until 30 June 2020 (but is subject to review).
Section 82(1) prevents re-entry or forfeiture for non-payment of “rent” during the relevant period, in respect of a relevant business tenancy.
The definition of rent is generous and “includes any sum a tenant is liable to pay under a relevant business tenancy”.
So, covers service charges and building insurance as well.
The Act does not cancel liability, it only defers it
The Act prevents a landlord enforcing by forfeiture until 30 June 2020. Further, and more worryingly, it does not stop the landlord from taking other steps to try and obtain payment during this time.