Covid rent strike

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    Covid rent strike

    We have a commercial tenant who stopped paying the rent in February. He says since his business is not earning a profit due to lockdown, he does not have to pay the rent, can't pay the rent and won't pay the rent. He says he is legally entitled to do this because the government have banned landlords from evicting a tenant during lockdown. We let it lie for the first 2 months to try and smooth things over but now it's 4 months without rent and a written reminder has been issued to him. He says if he gets any more reminders he won't pay anything even once he's earning again and we 'will be stuck with him for 12 months with no rent'. He's told us we should claim the outstanding rent from the government ourselves. He runs a scrap yard from the property. Please advise!

    #2
    Is there a lease in place? Are you looking for vacant possession or rent recovery? I have a similar issue with a tenant.
    He may not be able to be evicted now, but that won't last. I would imagine he has taken advantage of the help from the gov tho

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      #3
      He's had a small business grant but he said it was not enough to allow him to pay the rent. (he has 6 kids to support). We haven't had any support ourselves as we are a limited company with no payroll, all profits staying in the company. There's no written lease but the terms are clearly established. We dont particularly want to evict so long as we get the arrears paid at some point. Unfortunately when such matters are broached, he conveniently reverts to his mother tongue and makes conversation impossible.

      Comment


        #4
        perhaps concentrate on getting a payment from July (when everything is "normal" again) and then once things are calmer start pushing for a payment plan for the outstanding (eg upping monthly rent until paid off). He is trying to bully you into submission! You may consider a discount for the covid period to sweeten things?
        Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

        Comment


          #5
          I suggested he resumed his standard rent payments (he pays every 2 months anyway). He said the law was in his favour and he didnt have the money. I then suggested that he was in breach of contract and then he said let's not get the law involved, I'll pay this may-june rent. Then I suggested he would have to pay back the arrears maybe a bit at a time which he agreed, albeit £50 every two months (his suggestion). Yes he's a bully, bombastic and loud at the very least.

          Comment


            #6
            Engage good commercial Landlord solicitor and issue notice ASAP
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
              Engage good commercial Landlord solicitor and issue notice ASAP
              Is he a sole trader or a LTD company.

              if a sole trader you may find it more fun to push through a bankruptcy order.

              if LTD you can apply for a winding up order.

              it might not get the rent arrears paid, it might not get him evicted (that might be a separate action), but it would show him who own the trousers.

              did i mention I hate bullies.

              Comment


                #8
                Yes I second issuing a statutory demand, focusses their mind. I don't know why we don't all do it when we have rent arrears over 750. Anybody know?

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                  #9
                  Answering my own question, it's because it's quite expensive with no guarantee of recovering anything. Unless you know they own something of value. Like a house, in which case they probably wouldn't be renting, but might be useful in very limited circumstances.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    No statutory demands allowed until after september sadly, It appears commercial tenants can do as they please

                    Comment


                      #11
                      This week the tenant registered with companies house a s a limited company, giving our address as his registered address. Is this likely to affect the rental agreement? I think he's done it to avoid any future rent demands as well as release himself from any arrears.

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