IT’S been a year like none other.
And even as 2020 draws to a close, lenders continue to face an unprecedented set of circumstances that are evolving at a truly unprecedented rate.
Most recently – on Wednesday, December 9 – the government announced that it was extending the ban on evictions of commercial property tenants until the end of March 2021.
The moratorium on business evictions was introduced earlier this year to help firms ride out the pandemic and had been due to end on December 31, 2020.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government stated: “This final extension to protections from the threat of eviction will give landlords and tenants three months to come to an agreement on unpaid rent.”
It’s worth noting at this point that the government has definitively used the word “final” regarding this extension.
So, where does this leave lenders?
While this extension clearly impacts on the enforcement options available to lenders – and landlords – until the ban is lifted, it patently doesn’t mean that nothing can be achieved over the next three months.
It’s essential that lenders encountering default loans linked to commercial properties appoint a Property Receiver at the earliest possible opportunity when it’s clear that dialogue has broken down.
While the Receiver will not be able to engage a bailiff to enforce possession, there remains an enormous amount that can be done to ensure that each appointment is as far advanced as possible for when the ban is lifted.
What Receivers can do – indeed, what we specialise in doing – is negotiate with both borrowers and tenants.
At CG&Co, we’ve consistently achieved this throughout 2020 by entering into discussions with borrowers and tenants via web-based platforms or telephone calls and, where possible, by issuing pre-action correspondence and possession proceedings online.
We’ve also continued to collaborate actively with borrowers throughout the lockdown by seeking voluntary agreements for surrendering possession while keeping them fully informed about the potential consequences of contested possession proceedings.
We will continue adopting this highly proactive approach until the end of March 2021 – and beyond.
There’s simply too much to lose by not doing so.
It’s been well documented that the courts have been stretched in recent months and, in the wake of the eviction ban’s removal, they are likely to be truly inundated in 2021.
Consequently, it remains essential for cases to be as far advanced as possible to ensure that eviction can be enforced at the earliest opportunity.
We want to ensure that lenders are consistently able to reuse their own money to lend at rates that are the most advantageous to them.
In conclusion, little did anyone realise what lay in store this time last year.
As we embark on 2021, there continues to be great uncertainty about what lies ahead.
Whatever shape the “new normal” takes, it’s imperative that lenders consistently adopt the most proactive approach possible to Receivership.
And it’s never been more essential to ensure that you’re supported by the most proactive team of Property Receivers.