Temporary ban on commercial tenant evictions announced by the Government

The Government has announced emergency legislation to protect commercial tenants from facing eviction as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.  Daniel Woodcock, a Partner in Butcher & Barlow’s Commercial Property Department, considers the impact of this intended legislation and examines the issues arising for both tenants and landlords.

Commercial tenants will now be afforded a lifeline in the form of a 3-month temporary ban on being evicted for missing rent payments as a result of the effects on their business of the Coronavirus pandemic particularly the social-distancing and business shut-down measures ordered by Government to control its spread.

A link to the Government’s recent press release about the extra protection is below:


These measures will be included as an amendment to the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament. This protection will come into force when that Bill receives Royal Assent and is initially designed to last until 30 June 2020 – with an option for extension, if needed.

Whilst this is being hailed as very welcome news for those commercial tenants who may have feared the threat of eviction for the non-payment of rent as a result of the cash-flow impact of the Government’s lock-down measures, this announcement:

  • Is timed to coincide with the 25 March 2020 quarter day – when many tenants are due to make the next quarterly rent payment to their landlords.
  • May cause further concern for landlords of commercial premises – many of whom are already struggling with the adverse effect on their rental income stream of the other recent measures announced by Government.
  • May not provide protection for those tenants who may already be facing forfeiture for the non-payment of more historic rent arrears.
  • Will only provide temporary respite for such tenants, as this legislation will not serve to waive or even postpone any contractual requirement to pay rent as it falls due – only to protect tenants from the immediate threat of eviction following forfeiture of their lease for non-payment of rent.
  • Serves as a further reminder to both landlords and tenants of the importance of entering into collaborative dialogue as to how they can both best co-operate to put in place voluntary arrangements concerning the deferral of rents, temporary reduced rent-levels or rental-payment holidays.

For any landlords or tenants who wish to receive legal advice as to how they can restructure their existing lease arrangements in a safe and legally effective way, as outlined above, Butcher & Barlow has recently published an article which was also written by Daniel: Click here to read the article Changing Gears – How Landlords and Tenants can work together to mutual advantage during the Coronavirus crisis

If you are a landlord, tenant, or a lender to either who would like further advice on any  issues below please do not hesitate to contact Daniel for further advice.

  • The Government’s recent announcement and its implications;
  • Advice on lease re-gearing;
  • Advice on any other commercial landlord or tenant matter; or
  • Advice on any other aspect of commercial property law,

Although our offices are currently closed in line with Government guidelines, Daniel remains available via email dwoodcock@butcher-barlow.co.uk or via telephone on 07741 894705.

For information on our current working practices please see www.butcher-barlow.co.uk/news. We continue to provide the high quality legal service that you have come to expect from Butcher & Barlow.

Daniel Woodcock

Daniel Woodcock


Daniel is an approachable and knowledgeable commercial property solicitor who has been consistently included in the Legal 500 as a Recommended Lawyer for commercial property work being previously described as “extremely thorough in his work; very pro-active and quick to respond” (2017 Edition); “first rate” (2019 Edition); and “experienced” (2020 Edition).