Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, tenants under a commercial lease could be evicted for non-payment of rent on as little as 14 days’ notice using irritancy provisions. In an effort to assist commercial tenants, the Scottish Government extended that notice period from 14 days to 14 weeks. The extension was originally due to stay in place until 30 September 2020, but was extended to 31 March 2021 and then again to 30 September 2021.
In June, the Scottish Parliament published a draft Bill seeking to extend the 14 week irritancy provision even further to 31 March 2022. The Bill allows that the deadline could be extended even further to 30 September 2022 if the Scottish Government consider that is required.
The Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021 received Royal Assent, and was published on 4 August 2021, with most provisions coming into effect on 5 August 2021: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2021/19/pdfs/asp_20210019_en.pdf
This confirms that the 14 week irritancy provision is extended to 31 March 2022.
While this extension will no doubt be welcomed by commercial tenants, not all landlords are so positive. They may well be finding it increasingly difficult to manage if their rental income is affected.
How can we help?
It is a difficult time for many commercial landlords and tenants at the moment. Maintaining good lines of communication between the parties is key when trying to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on rent arrears. If relations are breaking down and there is no scope of reaching agreement, there are still some steps that landlords can take to try to protect their position.
Please do get in touch with our specialist Commercial Dispute Resolution team if you are looking for advice in relation to your particular circumstances.