In response to the growing number of commercial rent disputes, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has launched a Commercial Rental Independent Evaluation Service to help landlords and tenants negotiate payments during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
It is estimated that in the 1st quarter of 2020, more than £1.5 billion in rental income was lost to the UK’s property industry and the knock-on effect to the rest of the economy is considerable.
Consultation across the industry saw that there was a need to provide a service that allows for clear dialogue between both landlord and tenant. Tenants need a safe space to share their grounds for non-payment, whilst also allowing the landlord to share their own pre-requisites for concessions and identify those tenants who genuinely are struggling to pay rent, versus those who are using the crisis as an excuse not to pay.
The independent service was set up in response to the published guidelines from the government on a code of practice for commercial property relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic. These guidelines recommend that landlords and tenants use an independent third party to help mediate any disputes at this difficult time.
The goal of the service is to protect both parties and to maintain a positive working relationship post-COVID. Both parties will be provided with a tight timetable and clear structure for evidence to be presented and examined by an RICS appointed independent evaluator. The service provides a clear and affordable schedule of fees for all property sizes, with costs matched to the size of the dispute. Evaluators aim to provide a timely resolution within 28 days.
Further detail can be found directly on the RICS website.