The landscape for commercial landlords in Scotland continues to shift, as the remaining pandemic-related limits on rent arrears collection are eliminated this month.
Both landlords and tenants have been required to stay current on numerous legal developments during the last two years.
At the outbreak of the pandemic, a variety of measures were enacted that limited landlords' ability to collect rent arrears from tenants. These limits have been gradually reduced, and landlords will be relieved to learn that any remaining restrictions will be lifted later this month.
From the end of March 2022, landlords will once again have a full set of recovery tools at their disposal.
Let's have a quick reminder of the recovery methods most usually utilised by commercial landlords, all of are - or shortly will be - available once again.
Where leases contain the relevant consents and provisions allowing for the identification of the quantities payable, and have been recorded in the Books of Council and Session for preservation and execution, landlords can engage in what is known as summary diligence.
This means that urgent action can be taken to collect debts - without resorting to court - including the following:
Where the lease expressly prohibits summary diligence, landlords may nonetheless initiate court procedures for arrears payment and, once an order for payment is obtained, proceed to enforcement (the methods of which can again include serving a charge for payment or carrying out an arrestment or attachment).
Notably, landlords will now again be permitted to file winding-up petitions against commercial tenants based on unfulfilled statutory requests for arrears.
From 29 March 2022, the notice period to be given to a commercial tenant before a landlord can terminate the commercial lease for non-payment of rent or other sums will revert from 14 weeks back to the normal 14 days.
You may have heard a lot about the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill in recent weeks, which is set to take effect in England and Wales shortly. The Bill, among other things, ring-fences and establishes a mechanism for resolving rent arrears accumulated during the pandemic. To be clear, Scotland is not covered by the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus)
Please do not hesitate to contact our legal team if you require assistance regarding the enforcement actions accessible to business landlords.