The Welsh Parliament, Senedd Cymru, has further extended the moratorium, which is currently in place protecting business tenants who have been unable to pay rent during the Covid-19 pandemic. The moratorium was due to come to an end on 30th September 2021 but has now been extended until 25th March 2022.
The moratorium in place means that commercial landlords are unable to pursue tenants for unpaid rent that has accrued during the pandemic by forfeiting the lease. The Welsh regulations previously departed from those in England. However, they have now been aligned with the moratorium ending on 25th March 2022.
The Business Tenancies (Extension of Protection from Forfeiture etc.) (Wales) (Coronavirus) (No 3) Regulations 2021 provides that a right of re-entry or forfeiture under a relevant business tenancy for non-payment of rent may not be enforced during the relevant period. The relevant period began on 26th March 2020 and will now end on 25th March 2022.
The Welsh Government has stated that during this time, they will continue to consider what measures will need to be put in place in Wales once the moratorium comes to an end. In England, a compulsory “binding arbitration” system has been announced to deal with Covid related arrears. Whether the Welsh Government adopts a compulsory “binding arbitration” system will become clearer at the beginning of 2022.
Tenants are encouraged to pay whatever rent they can afford and to try and reach negotiations with their landlord during this time. The extension will be disappointing news (though given the extension in England, not surprising) for landlords in Wales who will yet again face further uncertainty and limited options where tenants refuse to engage (particularly when their tenant is well able to pay).
If you would like further information regarding the moratorium and its extension in Wales, please get in touch with our Property Litigation Team on 0161 941 4000 or email the Property Litigation Team.