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Covid Rent Arrears Arbitration

Disputes about rent arrears arising as a result of the pandemic may now be determined by arbitration. The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022 sets out a binding arbitration procedure for the resolution of rental disputes where landlords and tenants of commercial properties have been unable to resolve the matter themselves.

Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, working with barristers' chambers Five Paper, has been selected by government to be an Approved Arbitration Body, authorising us to appoint arbitrators under this legislation.

The process provides the means to resolve disputes quickly and affordably. Please download an application form.

Landlords and tenants should always try to reach an agreement themselves first, and should follow the government’s Code of Practice for commercial property relationships following the COVID-19 pandemic.

NOTE: This legislation applies only to England and Wales. It came into effect on the 25 March 2022; the service will be available from this date.

Please email info@disputeresolutionombudsman.org or call 0330 094 0365 to apply.

Our Arbitrators

Kevin Grix
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Ombudsman
As Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman at Dispute Resolution Ombudsman Ltd, Kevin leads the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman and Rail Ombudsman.
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Judith Turner
Deputy Chief Ombudsman
A member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrations, Judith also serves as Deputy Chief Ombudsman at the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman and Rail Ombudsman.
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Robin Somerville
Barrister, Arbitrator, Mediator, Investigator
A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and of the Civil Mediation Council, and an accredited investigator, Robin has extensive experience of disputes across a broad spectrum of subjects, with expertise in the fields of arbitration and mediation in consumer and business-to-business settings.
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Gavin Dingley
Barrister, Arbitrator, Mediator
A Fellow of the Chartered institute of Arbitrators, Gavin’s broad-ranging expertise, acting as arbitrator, mediator and counsel, encompasses: Construction and Real Estate; Commercial Contracts; Joint Ventures & Partnerships; Sports & Entertainment; Art & Cultural Heritage; and Shipping and Logistics.
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FAQs

What is Arbitration?

In arbitration proceedings, each party submits their arguments and evidence in writing, and/or orally, to an independent arbitrator. The arbitrator determines the dispute based on the persuasiveness of evidence submitted by the parties. The arbitrator’s award is a final and binding determination, with limited rights of appeal to the courts. A party cannot appeal an arbitrator’s award merely because they disagree with it.

Who will be appointed as Arbitrator?

An initial triage review will assess the level of complexity and amount of rent at issue to pair the claim with an arbitrator with the appropriate level of experience and seniority.

How are our Arbitrators independent?

The initial triage review includes a conflict of interest check to ensure independence and transparency. If you have any concerns regarding your appointed arbitrator, you will be free to seek another appointment.

What are the Arbitration Fees?

Our fees flex in accordance with: the value of the dispute; the level of complexity; the arbitrator appointed; and the amount of time taken to resolve it.

Appointment fee: £500.

Arbitration fee: determined from an hourly rate based on a sliding scale (£250-500) taking in to account: the rate of the arbitrator appointed; the complexity and value of the dispute; the time allocated to it; and whether the dispute may be settled on the papers or requires a hearing. Typically, up to ten hours may be required. Some disputes may require less time. If it is considered likely that the arbitration will exceed this, the applicant will be notified in advance.

To refer a dispute, an administrative fee of £100 applies; this fee is due in the event that a dispute is deemed ineligible either at the initial triage review or by the arbitrator.

All fees are exclusive of VAT.

If you require a public hearing, an Arbitration Suite is available.

All fees are payable in advance by the referring party.

Will an Arbitration be able to deal with more than one Property at a time?

Yes, if both parties agree.

Will there be a hearing?

There can be, if the parties (either or both) request one. This can be virtual or at a venue to be agreed. The hearing will take place in public, unless both parties agree otherwise.

Can you provide a venue for a hearing?

Yes, an Arbitration Suite is available.

Will an Expert be appointed?

If required, an expert may be appointed and this will be done in consultation with the parties.

How will my information be used?

Please refer to Dispute Resolution Ombudsman’s Privacy Notice. With regard to information supplied to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, please refer to the following Privacy Notice.

Terms of Reference for Arbitration under The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022 (“the Act”).

Process:

  1. Application - either party can apply for Arbitration under the Act by completing an application form. Please note that you must first have served notice of your intention to make a reference to arbitration to the other party under section 10 of the Act and otherwise ensure you have complied with the obligations set out in that section. A reference to arbitration must also comply with the requirements of sections 11 (formal proposals) and 12 (written statements) of the Act. A privacy notice concerning how certain data may be used by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy can be found here.
  2. Triage - Dispute Resolution Ombudsman will conduct an initial eligibility review and conflict of interest check to determine an appropriate arbitrator. The parties will receive confirmation of the Appointment of an Arbitrator or notification that the referral is immediately deemed ineligible, within 7 days.
  3. Fee schedule - comprising an initial fee and uplift on a sliding scale depending upon the level of complexity and value of the dispute, the rate of the arbitrator appointed and time allocation. All fees must be paid in advance by the referring party, (save in the case of joint and several liability for fees arising out of a jointly requested hearing).
    Appointment fee: £500.
    Arbitration fee: determined from an hourly rate based on a sliding scale (£250-500) taking in to account: the rate of the arbitrator appointed; the complexity and value of the dispute; the time allocated to it; and whether the dispute may be settled on the papers or requires a hearing. Typically, up to ten hours may be required. Some disputes may require less time. If it is considered likely that the arbitration will exceed this, the applicant will be notified in advance.
    To refer a dispute, an administrative fee of £100 applies; this fee is due in the event that a dispute is deemed ineligible either at the initial triage review or by the arbitrator.
    All fees are exclusive of VAT.
  4. Acceptance of Arbitrator - if neither party objects to the proposed appointment, an Agreement will be sent to both parties for signature and return. The Appointment will take effect upon receipt of the arbitrator’s fee from the referring party and the receipt of signed agreements, counter-signed by the arbitrator, from both parties.
  5. Preliminary Review - the arbitrator will conduct a review, dealing with any preliminary legal points arising out of the Final Proposals submitted by both parties.
  6. Hearing - if either or both parties request a hearing, this will be scheduled within 14 days of receipt of the request. The requesting party must pay the fee in advance (or otherwise will be jointly and severally liable to pay this if both parties request a hearing).
  7. Issue of Award - the award will be issued as soon as reasonably practicable from the date upon which the latest final proposal is received, or otherwise the last day upon which a party may submit a revised proposal, or within 14 days from the conclusion of an oral hearing.
  8. Legal Costs - except as set out in the Act, both parties must meet their own legal or other associated costs.

Awards:

  1. Awards - these will be made in accordance with sections 13 and 14 of the Act which will include reimbursement of arbitration fees in accordance with sections 19(5) and 20 (6).
  2. Publication of Award - the award will be published on the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman's website.

Complaints:

  1. Challenges to Awards - parties may be able to challenge awards under sections 67-69 of the Arbitration Act. Otherwise, please address your concerns to info@disputeresolutionombudsman.org
  2. Removal of an arbitrator - following acceptance of the initial appointment, any grounds for removal should be communicated to info@disputeresolutionombudsman.org explaining the reasons for which removal is sought. In the event that a replacement is agreed and required, the fees will be adjusted accordingly and, depending upon the reasons for the arbitrator stepping down, an administration charge may be applied.

Contact

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