The divergence of policy in Wales from the rest of the UK relating to the Coronavirus pandemic has been widely covered and reported, both nationally and internationally.
The coming into force on 30 June 2020 of the Business Tenancies (Extension of Protection from Forfeiture etc) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 is however an example of Wales adopting the same approach as England where forfeiture of business tenancies are concerned for non-payment of rent.
Section 82 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 restricts the ability of a landlord to forfeit (i.e. bring to an end) a business tenancy for non-payment of rent during the “relevant period” which is presently 26 March 2020 – 30 June 2020.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 allows the Welsh Government to pass regulations extending the relevant period, and the Welsh Government has now decided to exercise that right.
On 30 June 2020 business tenancies in Wales will be afforded additional protection from forfeiture for non-payment of rent until 30 September 2020 by the Business Tenancies (Extension of Protection from Forfeiture etc) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, in line with similar regulations to be brought into force on 29 June 2020 in England.
This development will provide added certainty and reassurance for tenants of business premises that their tenancy cannot be brought to an end for non-payment of rent before 30 September 2020, but will come as unwelcome news to many welsh landlords struggling as a consequence of reduced or in some cases extinguished rent receipts during the current pandemic.