The Property Litigation Team have recently acted for the landlords of commercial premises in West London in obtaining summary judgment against their tenant for significant rent arrears.
The tenant occupies the premises for the purposes of high end car servicing and repairs. After failing to pay rent for several months, the landlords issued proceedings against the tenant and its guarantor. The tenant defended the proceedings arguing that the impact of COVID-19 meant that rent should only be payable for the period that the premises could be used in full i.e. without any restrictions.
Recognising the limitations of this type of argument, particularly as the tenant had continued to trade from the premises, we advised our client to apply for summary judgment to save the time and expense of a full trial. Our client was successful and recovered its legal cost on an indemnity basis.
Mark Steggles and Grace Mercer advised the landlords. Grace comments as follows:
"Whilst commercial tenants have the benefit of a number of measures introduced by the Government in response to the pandemic, the liability to pay rent continues. In this case, the tenant had no justification for failing to pay rent and the Court agreed. This decision followed the same line as two other recent court decisions made in favour of landlords regarding the recovery of rent arrears."
The Property Litigation team act for commercial landlords and tenants. A link to the current restrictions in place concerning enforcement action that landlords can take against clients for the recovery of rent arrears can be found here: https://www.ts-p.co.uk/news/commercial-tenancies-your-questions-answered