Related updates

COVID-19 Related Updates

On this page you will find a range of insights that cover the full range of services that Forsters provides including corporate commercial disputes, employment matters, real estate litigation and more. Our insights look closely at the direct impact of the virus, as well as the long-term effects of the measures the Government is putting in place to contain the virus.

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7 July 2020

Change of business activity? – HMRC guidance

As a result of COVID-19, many businesses have been forced to stop trading during the lockdown or have changed the nature of their activities. Aside from the commercial aspects of a change in business activity, various tax implications may also arise, including the business’ ability to carry forward losses.

Change of business activity? – HMRC guidance



2 July 2020

Post COVID-19. Is your business “investment ready”?

As the UK eases out of lockdown and we focus on getting the economy back on track, Corporate Partner, Christine Dubignon, considers five steps that businesses can take to be “investment ready”.

Post COVID-19. Is your business “investment ready”?



2 July 2020

Project Speed: “to build better; to build greener; to build faster”

Giving a speech on 30 June 2020, Boris Johnson declared the UK government’s intention to deliver “the most radical reforms of our planning system since the end of the second world war” as it attempts to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Project Speed: “to build better; to build greener; to build faster”



22 June 2020

Covid-19 and commercial property rent recovery: new code of practice and restrictions on remedies to be extended

On 19 June 2020, the Government published the Code of Practice for commercial property relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic ("the Code"). The Code was drafted by a Working Party comprising landlord and tenant representative bodies.

Covid-19 and commercial property rent recovery: new code of practice and restrictions on remedies to be extended



22 June 2020

Covid-19: whistle-blowing and health and safety concerns

The pandemic has brought about numerous challenges for employers, which will continue as lock-down measures start to ease. As businesses re-open and staff start to return from furlough leave, employers will need to ensure that they have appropriate health and safety procedures in place having regard to the ever changing government guidance. This will be no easy task. This article considers some of the key employment law and health and safety issues in this area.

Covid-19: whistle-blowing and health and safety concerns



18 June 2020

UPDATE – changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government has announced a number of changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The extension to the Scheme has been welcomed by employers, but the practicalities of operating it are becoming increasingly complex.

UPDATE – changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme



10 June 2020

A quick guide to the rent collection minefield

With substantial sums still outstanding for the March Quarter, landlords face an even tougher battle collecting rents for the coming June Quarter. This Guide looks at the options likely to be available in light of Government action to date and future likely restrictions.

A quick guide to the rent collection minefield



9 June 2020

News Blast – Residential Possessions

We have already reported about the extension implemented by the Coronavirus Act 2020 to the length of notice that most possession notices and notices to quit must give before possession proceedings may be started.

News Blast – Residential Possessions



3 June 2020

Family Governance in the Digital Age

A practical checklist for the post-Covid world. The Covid-19 pandemic has had two major implications for family governance structures.

Family Governance in the Digital Age



3 June 2020

What next re commercial rent collection during COVID-19?

Following the publication of the proposed Corporate Insolvency & Governance Bill ("the Bill") on 20 May 2020, the Government then issued a Press Release on 29 May 2020 announcing its intention to introduce a Code of Practice by 24 June 2020 to provide landlords and high street business tenants with clarity and reassurance over rent payments.

What next re commercial rent collection during COVID-19?



2 June 2020

The Countryside Strikes Back – crucial considerations for moving to the country

If coronavirus has proved one thing, it's that Samuel Johnson was wrong when he said: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life". If anything the opposite is now true. With the bright lights of city living suddenly dimmed, the fresh air and open spaces of the countryside have never felt more attractive.

The Countryside Strikes Back – crucial considerations for moving to the country



27 May 2020

The reopening of the retail sector: considerations for landlords and tenants

In an effort to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic while still seeking to limit the spread of the virus, the Government has announced that most non-essential shops, department stores and shopping centres will be allowed to reopen in June 2020.

The reopening of the retail sector: considerations for landlords and tenants



27 May 2020

Looking to the Future - Business Continuity

Now, more than ever, companies need to consider and put in place a business continuity strategy. Leaving a business rudderless or having to deal with complex continuity issues will, at best, take up management time and cause distress at a time when emotions may be running high and at worst, could result in the failure of the business.

Looking to the Future - Business Continuity



26 May 2020

What is a landlord now to do to collect rent from a solvent tenant?

The Corporate Insolvency & Governance Bill ("the Bill") was laid before Parliament on 20 May 2020. It follows on from the Government's Press Release of 23 April 2020 and it is due to be discussed next in the House of Commons on 3 June 2020. The proposed provisions of the Bill have taken almost a month to draft but they are likely to be subject to both substantial opposition from landlords as well as much debate in both Houses, the Commons and the Lords.

What is a landlord now to do to collect rent from a solvent tenant?



19 May 2020

Keep Farm and Stay Alert – what the latest lockdown guidance means for rural estates

The UK has moved to a new lockdown phase following Boris Johnson's statement on 10 May and subsequent government guidance. We summarise the key points for rural estates.

Keep Farm and Stay Alert – what the latest lockdown guidance means for rural estates



18 May 2020

The future of office space

Property Litigation Partner, Ben Barrison, and head of Forsters' corporate occupier practice, Glenn Dunn, have co-authored an article for EG entitled, ‘Office space: how to downsize for the new normal’.

The future of office space



18 May 2020

Covid-19: Employment Law Update

It’s hard to keep up: barely a day goes by without another change to government guidance or policy being made. This article summarises the recent key changes which employers should be aware of.

Covid-19: Employment Law Update



15 May 2020

Government-Backed Loan Schemes

As we move into a period where restrictions are eased and businesses and workplaces are reopening, and furloughing will start coming down, many business owners and their employees will be navigating the challenges of returning to work and the business decisions and costs that go alongside that. We have set out, below, a summary of the government-backed loan schemes available to businesses to support industry as we collectively work towards a "new normal".

Government-Backed Loan Schemes



14 May 2020

Update on house moves: Guidance published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Previously, moving house was only permitted where "reasonably necessary" and parties were strongly encouraged to delay completion where the property had not been vacant. This position has been relaxed and transactions can broadly go ahead as normal, unless parties are self-isolating or symptomatic.

Update on house moves: Guidance published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government



12 May 2020

The Rise of Public Works Loan Board Funding and its Future in a Post-COVID Landscape

The increase in the use of loans issued by the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) by local authorities in recent years has been well documented, with Councils borrowing billions of pounds at low rates of interest to fund investment in commercial real estate across the UK.

The Rise of Public Works Loan Board Funding and its Future in a Post-COVID Landscape



7 May 2020

Making redundancies during the pandemic

It is a sad reality that some employers will need to make redundancies as a result of the pandemic. It is clear that the ‘lock-down’ will only be lifted gradually and that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will not last indefinitely, and the combination of these is forcing some employers to take action to protect their balance sheets. This article provides a useful summary of the key considerations for employers who are contemplating a headcount reduction.

Making redundancies during the pandemic



7 May 2020

COVID-19 and the Hotel Industry

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on the hotel industry, with some commentators suggesting that it could take upwards of five years for the sector to fully recover. Hotels are truly multi-faceted businesses, often involving property interests and construction arrangements, commercial contracts, and underlying financial arrangements, as well as employing many people in various roles. What are the key legal issues hoteliers should consider during these uncertain times?

COVID-19 and the Hotel Industry



7 May 2020

HR data during the pandemic

Given the unprecedented events of recent weeks, it is perhaps fair to say that data law compliance has not been at the forefront of most employers’ minds. However, it is important that businesses remember that data protection legislation (including the UK’s Data Protection Act 2018 and the European’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)) continues to apply during the pandemic, which is particularly important given many employers are now collecting (or plan to collect) additional health data.

HR data during the pandemic



6 May 2020

Trustees and investing during the COVID-19 crisis

Given the numerous obligations and liabilities heaped upon trustees, many will be wondering what they should be doing during this Covid-19 crisis whilst it is not business as usual.

Trustees and investing during the COVID-19 crisis



5 May 2020

Lifting the lockdown: what employers should be thinking about

We don’t know when. We don’t know how. But, at some point, life as we knew it will eventually resume. Whilst practices and procedures which will need to be adopted will be driven by government guidance (initial drafts of which have recently been circulated) and it is clear that restrictions will be lifted gradually and not anytime soon, it is still worthwhile for employers to start thinking about the practicalities of life after ‘lock-down’ and how they will bring staff back to work.

Lifting the lockdown: what employers should be thinking about



1 May 2020

Schoolwork, Cash in the Attic and Tax Liabilities – How Working From Home Could Result in Unintended Tax Liabilities

Many of us are privileged and are able to work from home (WFH) during the current crisis. As a result, a large proportion of us are now well aware that WFH has many implications and we've all read articles about the importance of routine, a good breakfast, etc. However, there are also a number of fiscal consequences and your tax return may look a little different next time as a result of this prolonged period of WFH (and that will be subject to another blog!).

Schoolwork, Cash in the Attic and Tax Liabilities – How Working From Home Could Result in Unintended Tax Liabilities



30 April 2020

The hotel industry: responding and adapting to unprecedented times

The coronavirus pandemic has, without a doubt, reshaped our personal and professional lives. All industries and sectors have been affected in one way or another and are responding in different ways. Some areas of the hotel industry have taken steps which no-one could have foreseen just a few months ago. So, how is the hotel industry responding to the crisis, what measures and arrangements are being put in place and what are the longer term considerations for it?

The hotel industry: responding and adapting to unprecedented times



29 April 2020

Art in the time of Coronavirus: Employment considerations for the art market

The art industry, like most other industries, is not immune to the effects of the coronavirus. It is important for galleries, dealers, museums, auction houses, and other art businesses to consider the employment issues arising as a result of the pandemic. This is no easy task, especially when guidance and regulations are being introduced and changed at unprecedented speed.

Art in the time of Coronavirus: Employment considerations for the art market



28 April 2020

Art in the time of Coronavirus: HMRC relaxes the public access requirements for Conditional Exemption

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has temporarily relaxed the public access requirement for Conditional Exemption, and urged the owners of heritage property to follow the restrictions now imposed by the UK government on business operation and public movement due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Art in the time of Coronavirus: HMRC relaxes the public access requirements for Conditional Exemption



28 April 2020

How can private companies continue to function in a pandemic?

With a little thought and willingness to try new processes, private companies can continue to function in a lockdown situation.

How can private companies continue to function in a pandemic?



24 April 2020

Podcast: COVID-19 and the Real Estate Market

Podcast host, Knowledge Development Lawyer Miri Stickland, is joined by a trio of partners, Magnus Hassett from Commercial Real Estate, Ben Barrison from Property Litigation and Emily Holdstock from our Construction team, to discuss some of the issues we have seen affecting the real estate market as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Podcast: COVID-19 and the Real Estate Market



24 April 2020

COVID-19: Relaxation of the Statutory Residence Test for individuals carrying out coronavirus related activities

In an effort to attract and retain those with expertise in fields that may help in fighting COVID-19 in the UK, the Chancellor has announced that the statutory residence test (SRT) will be relaxed for certain individuals for the period 1 March to 1 June (although the duration of the concessionary period will be kept under review).

COVID-19: Relaxation of the Statutory Residence Test for individuals carrying out coronavirus related activities



24 April 2020

Art in the time of Coronavirus: Disputes in the Art World

With one third of the global population living under lockdown, we are witnessing the dawn of a new, and hopefully temporary, normal. We are all having to adapt to significant changes to our daily lives, social interaction and the operation of our businesses.

Art in the time of Coronavirus: Disputes in the Art World



24 April 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The guidance for employers and employees relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the ‘Scheme’) has now had several iterations. The Chancellor has issued the Treasury Direction (the ‘Direction’), which sets out the Scheme’s formal legal framework, and announced an extension to the Scheme until the end of June 2020. The HMRC on-line portal for making claims is now open. With so many moving parts, we thought it would be useful to answer some frequently asked questions in relation to the Scheme.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme



24 April 2020

Government announces temporary ban on Statutory Demands and CRAR

Landlords seeking to recover rent from their commercial tenants were dealt a further blow on 23 April 2020 when the Government announced further measures to protect commercial tenants during the lockdown period.

Government announces temporary ban on Statutory Demands and CRAR



23 April 2020

The Government-backed SME funding train is finally rolling into town…

There are currently three government-backed funding schemes available to businesses.

The Government-backed SME funding train is finally rolling into town…



21 April 2020

Dispute resolution in the age of isolation – An Update

Since 26 March 2020 when we last surveyed how mediation, arbitration and litigation were being conducted in the current circumstances, matters have evolved at a rapid pace, particularly in the English court system. We have seen unprecedented use of technology as the courts focus on getting business done as usual so far as possible.

Dispute resolution in the age of isolation – An Update



21 April 2020

COVID-19: HMRC guidance on Company Residence, Permanent Establishment and related issues regarding the Economic Substance Test

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) published guidance on 9 April on the implications of COVID-19-related travel restrictions on a company's residence status. Such travel restrictions may force directors or employees to be present in the UK when they would not be here under normal circumstances. This situation raises concerns as to whether a foreign company may become resident for tax purposes in the UK because the central management and control (CMC) of the company might be considered to have moved here.

COVID-19: HMRC guidance on Company Residence, Permanent Establishment and related issues regarding the Economic Substance Test



21 April 2020

Art in the time of Coronavirus: Landlord and tenant considerations for the art market

According to the British Art Market Federation, the UK arts and antiques market is comprised of nearly 8,000 businesses, providing direct employment for over 41,000 people. It is the third largest in the world with over a 20% global share and, therefore, a significant sector in the UK economy.

Art in the time of Coronavirus: Landlord and tenant considerations for the art market



20 April 2020

A practical guide for landlords on the impact of a tenant entering liquidation

Despite stimulus packages from the Government, it unfortunately seems inevitable that a large number of businesses will enter liquidation in the short and medium term as the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is felt in nearly every sector.

A practical guide for landlords on the impact of a tenant entering liquidation



17 April 2020

Note for landlords of commercial properties- particular points re rent recovery from tenants in current market conditions

Many tenants (particular those in the retail and hospitality sectors- but also a considerable number of office and industrial tenants) are not paying their rent in full or, in many cases, at all. Some of these tenants are major companies (such as JD Sports and WH Smith) who one would think could afford to pay. According to press reports, only 48% of commercial rents had been paid for the March 2020 quarter by the start of April.

Note for landlords of commercial properties- particular points re rent recovery from tenants in current market conditions



17 April 2020

Buyer Beware: Counterparties and Covenant Strength

In times of growing economic uncertainty business owners will face numerous commercial and strategic challenges. Ultimately, this may result in corporate restructuring or asset and business sales in order to manage liquidity or in more serious cases, protect parties from insolvency.

Buyer Beware: Counterparties and Covenant Strength



15 April 2020

C-19: Implications for construction - Emily Holdstock writes for Law In The Lockdown

Emily Holdstock, Partner in our Construction team, has written for legal real estate blog 'Law In The Lockdown' discussing the implications of COVID-19 on the Construction industry.

C-19: Implications for construction - Emily Holdstock writes for Law In The Lockdown



14 April 2020

Art in the time of Coronavirus: Support for Charitable Arts Organisations

Charitable arts organisations have been hugely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. All of the large museums and galleries have had to cancel exhibitions and events, with enormous revenue consequences.

Charitable Arts Organisations in the Coronavirus Pandemic



14 April 2020

How to make a will during this period of lockdown, social distancing and self-isolation

The social restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have complicated tasks that would have been simple only a few weeks ago. One such task is the making of a will, which must now be done in a way that takes account of the need for social distancing while also complying with the law.

How to make a will during this period of lockdown, social distancing and self-isolation



14 April 2020

Matthew Brunsdon-Tully quoted in the Financial Times on divorce settlements amid Covid-19

Family partner, Matthew Brunsdon-Tully’s comments have been published in the Financial Times’ article entitled ‘UK divorce settlements challenged as finances become strained’.

Matthew Brunsdon-Tully quoted in the Financial Times on divorce settlements amid Covid-19



9 April 2020

Keep farm and soldier on

The coronavirus pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy and the first call on our time and energy is the welfare of friends and relatives. But we must confront the economic implications as well. For rural estates, the connection between the human and the economic is close given the central role they play in binding together communities and looking after the physical landscape. Therefore, it is particularly important that estates take sensible and sensitive financial steps to weather this storm.

Keep farm and soldier on



9 April 2020

Tenant Administrations and COVID-19: A Landlord's Guide

The restrictions on movement imposed by the Government, in its attempt to control the spread of coronavirus, have exacerbated the already difficult trading conditions in which many retailers find themselves. Recent days have seen the sad news that both Debenhams and Cath Kidston have filed notice to appoint administrators. It can be expected that others will follow.

Tenant Administrations and COVID-19: A Landlord's Guide



7 April 2020

Current issues for charitable grant makers

The coronavirus pandemic has increased pressures on the charitable sector in an unprecedented fashion. Many operational charities are facing a perfect storm because their usual sources of fundraising (whether through public donations or fundraising events) have been depleted in circumstances where beneficiary needs have grown exponentially. In these times, many charities are more reliant on their charitable funders i.e. grant makers, foundations and, in some cases, donor advised funds.

Current issues for charitable grant makers



7 April 2020

Are EPC requirements immune to the COVID-19 lockdown?

You need a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) before marketing a building for sale or rent, whether domestic or non-domestic property. The same requirement applies on construction of a new building and potentially when alterations are carried out to an existing building. However, with England and Wales in a state of “lockdown”, is it fair to expect this legal requirement to remain?

Are EPC requirements immune to the COVID-19 lockdown?



6 April 2020

Annual leave: a relaxation of the rules due to Coronavirus

The Working Time Regulations 1998 have been amended so that workers can carry over four weeks’ holiday entitlement for up to two years if they have been prevented from taking it due to the effects of the current coronavirus epidemic.

Annual leave: a relaxation of the rules due to Coronavirus



3 April 2020

VAT - going beyond the headlines

The Government has recently announced a "VAT Holiday" for businesses, meaning that the VAT payment due for the periods ended 31 March 2020, 30 April 2020, 31 May 2020 and 30 June 2020 won't now be due until 31 March 2021.

VAT - going beyond the headlines



31 March 2020

Tax and immigration implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for individuals and their families

Few would have anticipated only a few weeks ago that by March, a large part of the world, including the UK, would be or have been in virtual lockdown with many planes grounded and borders closed. However, that is the result of the spread of COVID-19 and, while there are clearly many more significant challenges in relation to this virus for health and the global economy, there are also a number of tax and immigration consequences for individuals with connections in more than one jurisdiction, as well as for those based in the UK.

Tax and immigration implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for individuals and their families



27 March 2020

Lucy Barber quoted in MailOnline on moving house during lockdown

Head of Residential Property, Lucy Barber, comments in the MailOnline on what buyers and sellers are allowed to do as the coronavirus lockdown impacts sales in the property market.

Lucy Barber quoted in MailOnline on moving house during lockdown



27 March 2020

Natasha Rees quoted in The Times on coronavirus advice for homeowners and renters

Head of Property Litigation, Natasha Rees, answers a reader’s question in The Times providing advice to homeowners and renters affected by Covid-19.

Natasha Rees quoted in The Times on coronavirus advice for homeowners and renters



27 March 2020

Residential Possessions Update

You may have read about the Government’s intention to change the law to stop tenants being evicted as a result of Coronavirus. A Bill has been passed today which will impact on current possession claims and also on the service of notices.

Residential Possessions Update



26 March 2020

Construction contracts – the impact of Covid-19

Over the past few weeks, developers and contractors have been assessing the potential implications of coronavirus and COVID-19 on construction projects. Whilst matters continue to change on a daily basis (and this note considers the position as things stand on Thursday 26 March 2020) we have summarised the key contractual principles below.

Construction contracts – the impact of Covid-19



26 March 2020

Dispute Resolution in the Age of Isolation

In this short blog post, Dispute Resolution Partner, Andrew Head, and Senior Solicitor, Bryan Shacklady, take a look at the implications of the coronavirus lockdown for dispute resolution, focusing on three key dispute resolution mechanisms: litigation, arbitration and mediation.

Dispute Resolution in the Age of Isolation



24 March 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

On 20 March 2020, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “Retention Scheme”), which is designed to give employers support for paying salaries to those who would otherwise have been laid off due to the pandemic. This will be welcome news for many employers, although the details provided so far are very sparse and leave many questions unanswered.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme



24 March 2020

COVID-19: Forfeiture moratorium for UK commercial leases

The majority of leases in England require tenants to pay one quarter of the rent on 25 March with landlords typically being able to forfeit the lease by peaceable re-entry if the rent is not paid within 14 or 21 days.

COVID-19: Forfeiture moratorium for UK commercial leases



18 March 2020

Coronavirus: What effect will this Covid-19 pandemic have on tenants' leasehold liabilities?

Given that leases do not contain force majeure clauses, and they will not be frustrated by any temporary restriction or inability to occupy the premises, tenants and guarantors will remain bound by their lease obligations and, in particular, their liability for the rent.

Coronavirus: What effect will this Covid-19 pandemic have on tenants' leasehold liabilities?



13 March 2020

Will Coronavirus infiltrate your contracts too?

With the effects of Coronavirus sweeping across global markets, businesses are evaluating the practical impact on their trade. Many industries are already badly affected – whether by imposed travel bans or the quarantining of employees and customers – and business owners are concerned that disrupted trade may leave them with contractual liabilities.

Will Coronavirus infiltrate your contracts too?



6 March 2020

COVID-19: What will the impact on construction projects be?

The WHO has declared the COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern with the potential to become a pandemic, and the government has cautioned that cases of COVID-19 in the UK are likely to rise significantly over the coming days and weeks.

COVID-19: What will the impact on construction projects be?


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