The continued impact of COVID-19 knows no bounds. First and foremost, there is the terrible loss of life. Then there is the impact on economies, and the knock-on effects that this in turn has on health – it is a vicious, vicious circle.
Even as 2021 begins to unfold, and we are once again nationally ‘locked down’, a rapidly growing number of businesses are now fighting for their own lives, as they continue to suffer from significantly reduced commercial activity. Despite fiscally supportive measures from governments globally being implemented to a scale that has never before been witnessed, many organisations are still struggling to cope. Many are failing. Many will not cope. Since the first UK lockdown back in March last year, we have helped our clients and businesses in every way possible and will continue to do so in 2021.
Our core principles are the behaviours that underpin the way we do things. One of these principles especially stands out –Together. Accordingly, we continue to offer pro bono support to commercial occupiers. In 2020 alone, we reached out to over 25,000 businesses in the UK. If your organisation needs help or advice in dialogue with your landlord regarding the financial covenants in your commercial property lease(s) – please get in touch.
DeVono has weathered several storms over the past 18 years – we have navigated our way through them each time by evolving and by learning, and by applying our conscience to the circumstances and to our clients. As the UK’s leading occupier-only commercial property advisory firm, we specialise in providing real estate solutions that support our clients’ overall business objectives. We are committed to that goal, and benefit from a deep pool of experience at helping commercial occupiers to make smart property decisions that positively impact your business.
In 2021, we will continue to track UK Government guidance and campaign through this crisis to extend the business rates holiday to companies across all sectors. An extension of the business rates holiday is critical to a vast number of businesses, and could be the difference between surviving the pandemic, or not. Please sign the petition.
We are confident that we will transition through this with the support of one another. We are in this together. Take care, and stay safe.
Over the past couple of months, we have been working with a large number of businesses to assess their return to office strategy, and preparations to deliver a ‘COVID-19 Secure’ office. Our assessment tool forms a key part of our strategic approach recognising the short, medium, and long-term priorities that all businesses will need to overcome. Our work goes beyond the physical space and addresses workplace practices, technology and people.
This document outlines the key findings from our RTO assessments. Download here.
DeVono and Simmons & Simmons have co-authored this briefing document answering some of the most pertinent questions for businesses planning a phased return to work. This document brings together the joint expertise of these two firms in commercial property leasing and employment law, answering a series of questions regarding the government framework that employers need to abide by to make their workspace ‘COVID-19 secure, and a host of employment law considerations when planning a return to work.
This is a live document. It will be updated in accordance with announcements made by the UK government as they appear.
You can download the document here.
DeVono has summarised the new voluntary Code of Practice for the commercial property sector published by the UK Government. This Code aims to encourage commercial tenants and landlords to work together to protect livelihoods and businesses. Though the Code is voluntary for now, the government has stated that this could be made mandatory, if necessary. The Code will apply until 24th June 2021, and has been developed in collaboration with industry leaders and affiliated associations and seeks to provide a guide for all concerned parties when discussing rental payments. For both landlords and tenants, the Code is designed to support ongoing dialogue and encourages all parties to work to the best mutual outcome.
You can read the full Code of Practice here.
The Code of Practice sits alongside other government measures related to commercial leases such as the moratorium on lease forfeiture or rent arrears recovery. It is worth noting that the Coronavirus Act 2020 will be amended to extend the moratorium on forfeiture for non-payment of rent until 31st March 2021. The moratorium against service of statutory demands / issue of winding up proceedings has also been extended to 31st March 2021.
You can download our summary document here.
DeVono joined by 60+ commercial property firms calling on the government to extend the business rates holiday
In March, we petitioned the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the rates holiday to businesses across all sectors. For many organisations, the suspension of business rates could be the difference between staying open and closing. Today, more than 60 firms from across our sector joined us in our campaign calling on the UK Government to take action to help companies up and down the country facing bankruptcy, as featured in our Letter to the Editor in the Financial Times. You can read the Financial Times report on this campaign here.