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Change Of Use Of Your Business During COVID-19
March 2020

Mackenzi Lee once wrote, “It’s not failure to readjust my sails to fit the waters I find myself in”. Whilst Sting sung, “don’t stand so close to me”, both important messages during this difficult time but for the purpose of this piece, which I write, more than 2 metres away from anyone. I’ll focus on the former quote.

We are all facing challenges and having to adapt to try our best to continue our personal and professional lives within the limits placed on us by this pandemic.

As individuals we can adapt, changing our daily routines to balance work and home life but what about business, which are confined by the strict legal and planning framework within which they have to operate. Can they change as freely to meet the changing marketplace, how can a restaurant for example operate when customers can’t walk through the door.

The answer maybe in a proposed piece of government legislation which will relax the need to obtain planning permission for the use of a property. The legislation proposed would introduce a temporary permitted development right that will allow a change of use of pubs (Class A4 – drinking establishments) and restaurants (Class A3 – restaurants and cafes) to hot food take away (Class A5) for a period of up to 12 months.

In order to be prepared to take advantage of this legislation, once passed, tenants should check their leases to establish if they are restricted by terms of their lease. If so, they should speak to their landlord to discuss possible amendments which would benefit both parties as tenant’s could trade.

This legislation could offer a number of business the chance to adapt and if dialogue is opened between landlord and tenants, it could provide both parties with a chance to readjust their sails to fit the waters we find ourselves in.

If you would like any further information on how this legislation could help your business or if you would like our Commercial Property team to review your lease in light of this forthcoming legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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