Information Hub during Coronavirus Outbreak

We would like to use our members’ collective expertise and extensive experience to share information and best practice across our industry, to help everyone address the challenges we all face at this difficult time.

We invite all members to send us any industry insights, best practices, views and analysis, overriding policies and/or any other general information you consider may be valuable and that you are prepared to share with others. We will add further topics, as information is received.
 

Click on the titles below to view the information:

RICS Beyond COVID-19: Reopening Guides

As RICS professionals work to restart operations in line with local government advice, they have produced a range of practical guides with best practice considerations for different sections of the profession.  Click here to link to the RICS website.

Deferral of VAT payments due to COVID-19

All VAT payments due between the 20th March and the 30th June can now be deferred until the 31st March 2021.  Guidance on this can be found on HMRC’s webpage on Deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guide across Europe to the Covid-19 impact on lease agreements

3rd April 2020 - CMS guide across Europe to the Covid-19 impact on lease agreements
This currently covers 27 countries and additional international jurisdictions will also be added this week.

RICS Releases Valuation Practice Alert - Coronavirus

The RICS have released guidance to help their members deliver valuations that allow them to adhere to Government advice, but not go against the RICS Valuation – Global Standards red book, to which they are regulated and so as to not undermine the strength of RICS standards.
 
The new guidance can be found on the RICS website by clicking here.

Potential Impact on EMEA commercial real estate Industry

26 March 2020 - Click here to hear recording of CBRE Flash Call on the potential impact on EMEA commercial real estate industry.

CBRE’s Market Flash calls, alongside their latest research viewpoints, give you access to CBRE’s global insight on the international coronavirus pandemic. Find out what is happening to the property markets across Europe, Asia and the US, from our business and research leaders, who will give you the benefit of their expert views and perspectives. Click here to visit their COVID-19 UK Hub.

Best practice for energy management in unoccupied buildings

26 March 2020 - The Government’s strategy to combat COVID-19 is enforcing widespread home working. Previously busy office buildings are now experiencing very low occupancy.  Read the CBRE Best Practice Document here.

CMS Expert Guide to Stabilisation and Restructuring

Many companies have already successfully dealt with immediate questions such as supply chain management, scaling down businesses, managing employees, cash flow management and liquidity reserves. We are now seeing that corporates are increasingly focusing on mid- to long -term stabilization measures and potential restructuring for the post-Corona crisis phase. This is where we believe CMS's offerings can be of interest to you. 

CMS has set up this guide covering some high-level advice on restructuring implications, available state measures and other important data. 

Link: https://cms.law/en/int/expert-guides/cms-expert-guide-to-stabilisation-and-restructuring-initiative

 

Collection rate of rent and service charges for UK commercial and residential property survey - Remit Consulting

Ongoing research by Remit Consulting into the collection of rent and service charge by the UK’s major property managers during the second quarter of the year has confirmed only a marginal increase in the amounts collected within 21 days.

Click for more information and to take part in this survey.
Link - https://www.remitconsulting.com/blog 

Accounting issues in respect of the treatment of rental income & distributions for funds

In recent weeks a number of members have raised a possible accounting issue over the treatment of rental income and the impact on distributions.

Authorised funds and some other funds in accordance with their fund documents are required to distribute all their income. Widespread rent holidays and rent deferrals will have a much greater impact on available cash than on accounting income where the effect will be spread. Funds may have a requirement to distribution but have insufficient cash. 

AREF held a virtual meeting of accountants at fund managers, auditors, lawyers and others on 23rd June. After much discussion, we reached the following consensus - Click to read a summary of the conclusions from this meeting.

Turnover rents: Lessons from CVAs in the retail and dining sector

August 2020 - Travers Smith article - 2020: the return of turnover rents? Lessons from CVAs in the retail and casual dining sector

Following the decisions of Debenhams and Instant Cash in 2019, 2020 looked to be an uncertain year for the landlord CVA.  Six months on and a global pandemic later, CVA activity is rising again to cope with a seismic shift in the retail and casual dining sector.  Even with the unprecedented support package from the UK Government, many businesses in the sector cannot survive without a wholesale restructuring of their leasehold portfolios.

Restructuring leasehold portfolios - Q&A

August 2020 - Travers Smith Q&A on Restructuring leasehold portfolios

As lockdown in the UK eases, many companies are now taking stock of lessons learnt in the crisis. This includes reviewing their current exposure to real estate and their anticipated property requirements in the longer term.

COVID-19: Government easements for businesses and employer liability considerations

August 2020 - Travers Smith Legal Briefing on Business and Employer liability considerations

On 11 May 2020 the Government published practical guidance for employers on how to keep their workforce safe by implementing safety measures differentiated according to the activities undertaken, the physical spaces occupied by, and the demographic risk profiles associated with, relevant employees. Furthermore, in June 2020 the Government set out a timeline for retail stores to reopen which as of 4 July 2020 has been extended to include a set of further easements to other businesses and venues in the hospitality, personal care, accommodation and leisure space.

COVID-19: UK Government assistance available to businesses

July 2020 - Travers Smith legal briefing on UK Government assistance available to businesses

The UK Government has announced an unprecedented stimulus package to help support businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. These measures, originally announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his budget on 11 March 2020, have since been rapidly expanded. The scenario is subject to constant change and the measures appear to have unlimited scope. We are keeping this note updated as further details are released by the UK Government. The date on which it was last updated appears above.

If you would like something added to this page, please send it for the attention of Clare and Eve to info@aref.org.uk.