In response to the government’s voluntary code of practice for landlords and tenants, RICS has established a Commercial Rental Independent Evaluation Service that will seek to facilitate the resolution of disputes between landlords and tenants caused by the impact of COVID-19.

The service will aim to resolve disputes within 28 days and seeks to create a “clear, balanced dialogue” between parties during payment negotiations. In his/her role as mediator, the RICS representative will seek to analyse the tenant’s grounds for non-payment as well as the landlord’s conditions for making concessions.

Whilst there is no doubt that the number of unforeseen disputes has increased exponentially since the March quarter's rent fell due, it will be interesting to see whether this alternative dispute resolution mechanism, which in theory offers both landlords and tenants an affordable route to resolve rental disputes, is employed in practice.