Whilst the RYA has officially closed its doors for two weeks to help prevent the virus spread, its expert Legal team is working around the clock to provide guidance for marine organisations during these difficult times. As well as providing advice on the financial packages announced to help clubs and centres cope with the impact of Coronavirus, the team has issued new guidance which considers some of the factors that organisations need to be aware of when dealing with their Landlords during the COVID-19 crisis.
Tenants’ rights and obligations
Government’s enforced closure of most public leisure and a number of retail premises, means that clubs are no longer be able to open their doors to the public. However, Leases will continue and so too do a club’s obligations, subject only to a Landlord’s or a club’s break option.
Clubs, groups and centres should review their Leases to establish what they are required to do even when they can’t operate from their premises. They will also need to consider insurance requirements for the premises (keeping the property insured will be a condition of the Lease and therefore insurance must remain in place, regardless of the ongoing situation) and how to keep the premises safe and secure while they are not occupied.
In respect of the RYA Combined Club and Training Centre Policy, scheme operator Gallagher has confirmed that the standard exclusion of cover in respect of property which has been unoccupied for more than 45 consecutive days has been uplifted to 90 days during the current closure period.
Club Leases are likely to include a forfeiture clause enabling a Landlord to come in and take the property back should rent remain unpaid for a defined period. This has been a key concern for Tenants, given the proximity of the escalation of the COVID-19 crisis to the March quarter day (25 March). However, Government has intervened and announced a moratorium on forfeiture, meaning fresh forfeiture actions cannot be taken against clubs for the next three months, possibly longer depending on Government’s review of the crisis over the coming months.
Affected organisations can access the RYA Legal Team’s Clubs and Landlord Guidance on the RYA website.
If you have queries that are directly related to the current pandemic, please take a look at our Coronavirus hub. Here you will find all the latest advice and guidance that has been developed by the RYA Cruising, Legal & Government Affairs Team as the situation has evolved. Club Commodores and Training Centre Principals are also encouraged to check out the RYA Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for Affiliated Clubs, Classes and Recognised Training Centres for detailed support and guidance.