As we are in the midst of an uncertain time there are lots of different questions and things to consider. For business owners, how can COVID-19 impact your commercial leases?

If you have such a lease, the impact of COVID-19 depends what it says – so it is worth checking your agreement with the Landlord. If you have a recent ADLS version Deed of Lease (which is industry standard) then there is a definition of “Emergency” which includes an epidemic. Clause 27.5 then has provision about access to the property in an emergency that refers to “a fair proportion of the rent and outgoings shall cease to be payable…” in some circumstances where you are unable to access the premises as a consequence of the emergency. Use that clause as the basis to talk with your Landlord in the coming weeks.

As a side note, if you only ever signed an Agreement to Lease, don’t panic that it doesn’t have that clause, as the Deed of Lease provisions are deemed to be incorporated into the Agreement to Lease as well (if it is an ADLS form) – see clause 4 of the ADLS Agreement to Lease form.

At this time we want to support businesses who have questions about what they should do next and we will be posting comments on issues we see arising from time to time.

This article is not a substitute for legal advice and you should talk to a lawyer about your specific situation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Steven, Kris or Paul at Parry Field Lawyers.