High street rental auctions: Government consultation

Commercial landlords have your say on the consultation underway in respect of the proposed high street rental auctions policy which, if implemented, will give local authorities new powers to require landlords to rent out persistently vacant commercial property. The consultation runs until 23rd June 2023.

The UK government is looking to revitalise vacant commercial properties and bring more activity to high streets. It has therefore launched a 12-week consultation on the proposed High Street Rental Auction of commercial property in England.

Under the proposed changes, local authorities would have the power to organise high street rental auctions for vacant commercial properties that have been vacant for more than one year. Landlords would be required to enter into a new lease with the successful bidder, which could help ensure that the property is occupied and contributing to the local economy.

The consultation document outlines various policy options for the auction process, including auction design, eligibility criteria for landlords and tenants, minimum bid increments, and dispute resolution mechanisms. The consultation also seeks views on how the auction process could be integrated with existing legal frameworks, such as the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

The government is encouraging responses from a broad range of stakeholders, including landlords, tenants, property agents, and legal professionals. The consultation period runs from 30 March 2023 to 23 June 2023. Once the consultation has closed, the government will analyse the feedback and use it to shape policy decisions and any legislative proposals.

The consultation process provides an opportunity for all stakeholders, including commercial landlords, to present their views on the proposed changes to the high street rental auction process. It is important for landlords to participate in the consultation and provide feedback on the practicalities of the auction process and the potential lease terms and costs that may be imposed by local authorities.

While the government has stated that it does not intend to target landlords who are proactively trying to let their vacant units, some landlords may still have concerns about the uncertainty and costs associated with the auction process and the role of local authorities in imposing terms on their own property. It is important for landlords to closely monitor the development of this legislation and engage with the consultation process before it closes on 23 June 2023.

Ultimately, the success of the High Street Rental Auctions will depend on how effectively the government addresses concerns from all stakeholders, including landlords, tenants, and local authorities. The consultation process provides an important opportunity to ensure that the auction process is transparent, efficient, and beneficial for all parties involved.

If you are interested in participating in the consultation, you can find more information on the UK government’s website here.

If you have any concerns or queries relating to the consultation and proposals, or any property – matters, contact Nicola Stewart, Anthony ShaletNatalie Walford or James John, our property experts at Rooks Rider Solicitors.



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