COVID-19: New government code of practice on rental payments to be published

Jun 2, 2020

The government has announced a plan to publish a new code of practice to assist discussions about rental payments between high street businesses and landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 29 May 2020, the government confirmed that it had set up a working party with the commercial rental sector to prepare the new code of practice. The code is intended to encourage fair and transparent discussions between landlords and tenants over rental payments during the coronavirus pandemic, provide guidance on rent arrear payments and the treatment of those that are sub-letting and suppliers.

The government intends to publish the new code before the next quarterly rent payment date of 24 June 2020. At this stage, the government has advised that the new code will temporary. If necessary, the government will explore options to make the code mandatory.

The government has reminded tenants that they should still make their rental payments if they are able to do so. However, the government are clear that they wish parties to work together to protect viable businesses and ensure a swift recovery.

Full details of the announcement can be found here:

It will be interesting to see how the government deals with the priorities of both landlords and tenants in the new code, and whether the government considers it to be necessary to make the code mandatory.

Many of our landlord and tenant clients are already working together to agree rent payment terms that are practical for both parties, and we would recommend that any such rent holidays/concessions are formally documented. For more information, please see our article about the importance of documenting a rent concession.

If you require further guidance regarding the effect of the coronavirus on commercial lease terms or advice on commercial leases in general, please contact Rosie Edwards, Solicitor, or Daniel York  Partner, in our Real Estate department or email your query to; call us on 01276 686222 or visit our website

This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.


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