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25 MAR 2022

RICS named by UK Government as Approved Arbitration Body

On 25 March, the moratorium on evicting commercial tenants ended, and the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act came into effect, sending Covid rent arrears disputes between commercial landlords and tenants to binding arbitration.

RICS has been selected by government to be an Approved Arbitration Body, and we expect that we will soon receive applications to appoint chartered surveyors to act as arbitrators under this legislation. To meet anticipated demand, RICS has developed a tailored Covid Rent Arrears Arbitration Service, drawing on a specialist panel of commercial arbitrators with decades of experience working with landlords and tenants.

These arbitrators are expert in assessing the viability and profitability of tenant businesses for the purpose of determining their rents. This skill, and the ability to deal with accounting records as evidence, lie at the heart of the new legislation, and ideally equip RICS arbitrators to decide the twin questions of business viability and rent affordability prescribed by the new law.

RICS Covid Rent Arrears Arbitration also supports the government’s drive to help SMEs and individual parties - it provides transparent levels of set fees in small cases, and an opportunity for parties to liaise with the arbitrator to determine in advance how much larger and more complex cases will cost them.

RICS Covid Rent Arrears Arbitration opens up an important new area of opportunity for RICS members, both as arbitrators and in representing landlords and tenants in this process.

The role RICS has played in helping to shape this government initiative, which will help to maintain a positive future for the UK high street, confirms RICS’s long held position as a pre-eminent thought leader in the commercial property sector.