Commercial landlords have missed out on more than £7bn in unpaid rent during the pandemic and have been told they will be expected to write off any Covid-related rent arrears if tenants are struggling to pay. Protection against eviction runs out next March and the government has set out new laws for how landlords and tenants should resolve outstanding debts. If initial talks fail, the Government has established legally binding arbitration to “help the market return to normal as quickly as possible”. It also has promised to protect commercial tenants from court judgments and bankruptcy petitions in relation to rent arrears. However Matthew Ditchburn, at Hogan Lovells, said the new arbitration scheme, designed to bring tenants and landlords to the negotiating table, may have the opposite effect: “Many landlords who want to engage and negotiate settlements have used the threat of court action to bring tenants to the table. Now that final remedy is to go.”