The law has been quick to react to the current health emergency. First of course came the Coronavirus Act 2020, given Royal assent and commencing on 25 March 2020. The Act made contained multi-various provisions to deal with the pandemic in England & Wales, from emergency registration of health workers and indemnities for health service activity for staff deployed outside their normal areas of competence, to extra powers relating to food supply chains, from powers to suspend port operations and make directions relating to events, gatherings and premises and in relation to potentially infected persons to provisions expanding the availability of live links in criminal court proceedings.
In addition and of direct relevance to the property sector, at sections 81 to 83 the Act contains provisions protecting residential tenants from possession claims and business tenants from enforcement of any right of forfeiture for non-payment of rent by action or otherwise during the relevant period (presently defined as the period up to 30 June 2020). The provisions apply also in relation to proceedings already begun and where an order for possession has been made to protect tenants from having to give possession before the end of the relevant period.