Law firm Hill Dickinson has achieved one of the largest covid arbitration awards made in favour of a tenant under legislation introduced to tackle commercial rent arrears that arose during the covid period.
The £325,000 award in favour of London Clubs Nottingham Limited, owner of Nottingham casino business Alea Casino, was made as a result of an arbitration referral pursuant to the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022. It is one of the highest awards made and one of only a handful made in favour of the tenant rather than the landlord.
The figure represents around 60% of the outstanding ringfenced arrears the landlord had sought to recover.
Commenting on the award, Janine Cheema of Hill Dickinson’s Real Estate litigation team, said: “We are delighted to have obtained relief of part of the protected rent debt on behalf of our client, London Clubs Nottingham, not only because most of the awards have been heavily in favour of landlords, but also because this is new legislation with little guidance as to evidence concerning tenants’ finances. As a result, it has been particularly challenging for tenants to demonstrate that they can afford the non-ring-fenced rent [pre and post pandemic] but cannot afford to discharge some or all of the protected rent debt.
“Businesses that are dependent on footfall suffered the most significant hardship during and in the period since the pandemic and are only just beginning to recover their losses. An award like this can make the difference between the business surviving or going under altogether.”
Hill Dickinson has significantly added to its national Real Estate team in recent months, with prominent partner hires in London as well as in Leeds.