Top 13 COVID-19 Regulation Changes your business can benefit from

01 Non-pre-emptive issuances have been temporarily relaxed

  • Who does that affect?
    Shareholders, companies raising equity capital and investors.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    To help companies raise equity capital during the crisis.
  • What has changed?
    Temporary guidelines have been issued recommending investors consider supporting issuances by companies of up to 20% of their issued share capital. 

    Previously the limit was 5% for general corporate purposes with an additional 5% for specified acquisitions or investments.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 01 April  2020
    Proposed end date: 30 September 2020
  • Call to action?
    All company shareholders and potential investors should consider taking advantage of the increase in investment limits and also ensure that they remain fully protected.

02 There has been a temporary suspension of wrongful trading rules

  • Who does that affect?
    Company Directors.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    To allow firms to continue trading while they are insolvent.
  • What has changed?
    Laws that make it illegal for a business to trade when it is insolvent have been temporarily suspended.

    Previously, directors of limited liability companies could become personally liable for business debts if they continued to trade when uncertain about their businesses’ ability to meet their debts.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 01 March  2020. The start date is retrospective and will formally come into effect when the legislation passes through Parliament
    Proposed end date: 30 June 2020
  • Call to action?
    Company directors should consider taking advantage of the relaxation in the wrongful trading rules to ensure the survival and growth of their business.

03 Commercial tenants get extra protection measures

  • Who does that affect?
    Commercial Landlords and Tenants.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    To give commercial tenants extra notice before repossession proceedings are taken.
  • What has changed?
    Landlords will have to give all commercial tenants 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession.

    Previously, landlords could peaceably re-enter the premises without notice and take possession of the premises without court action if tenants missed a rent payment.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 25 March 2020
    Proposed end date: 30 June 2020
  • Call to action?
    Tenants with difficulties making rent payments are encouraged to contact their landlords and come to an agreement on voluntary arrangements to repay money owed.

04 High street tenants get extra protection measures

  • Who does that affect?
    High Street Tenants and Landlords.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    To protect high street tenants from aggressive rent collection practices.
  • What has changed?
    There is a temporary ban on the use of statutory demands and winding up petitions for firms that cannot pay their bills due to COVID-19, and preventing landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.

    Tenants were previously only allowed 7 days notice before CRAR could be exercised.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 01 March 2020 for statutory demands and 27 April 2020 for winding up petitions.
    Proposed end date: 30 June 2020
  • Call to action?
    Tenants with difficulties making rent payments are encouraged to contact their landlords and come to an agreement on voluntary arrangements to repay money owed.

05 Renters get extra protection measures

  • Who does that affect?
    Housing Tenants and Landlords.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    To protect tenants in social and private accommodation from being forced out of their homes during the crisis.
  • What has changed?
    Landlords will have to give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession of the property and cannot apply to start the court process until after this period.

    Previously landlords were only required to give 4 weeks’ notice.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 26 March 2020
    Proposed end date: 30 September 2020
  • Call to action?
    Tenants with difficulties making rent payments are encouraged to contact their landlords and come to an agreement on voluntary arrangements to repay money owed.

06 Deadline for filing accounts has been extended

  • Who does that affect?
    Businesses.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    To help companies avoid penalties for delays to filing accounts during the crisis.
  • What has changed?
    Companies can apply for a 3 month extension to file their accounts. Previously, firms had to submit their accounts within 9 months (for private companies) or 6 months (for public companies) after the end of their financial year.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 25 March 2020
    Proposed end date: Ongoing
  • Call to action?
    Companies should consider applying for the filing extension to give themselves more time to focus on managing and growing their business.

07 AIM listed companies get extension to accounts publication deadline

  • Who does that affect?
    AIM Listed Companies.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    To help companies avoid penalties for delays to publishing accounts during the crisis.
  • What has changed?
    AIM companies with financial year ends between 30/09/2019 and 30/06/2020 will be able to apply for a 3 month extension to the reporting deadline for the publication of its annual audited accounts.

    Previously AIM Rule 19 requires that audited accounts are prepared within six months of the year end.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 26 March 2020
    Proposed end date: Ongoing
  • Call to action?
    AIM listed companies should consider fully utilising the automatic extension to give themselves more time to prepare and audit their accounts.

08 LSE listed companies get extension to accounts publication deadline

  • Who does that affect?
    LSE Listed Companies.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    To help companies avoid penalties for delays to publishing accounts during the crisis.
  • What has changed?
    Listed companies will now have 6 months from the end of their financial year to complete and publish their audited financial statements.

    Previously listed companies had 4 months from the end of their financial year to do so.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 26 March 2020
    Proposed end date: Ongoing
  • Call to action?
    Listed companies should consider fully utilising the automatic extension to give themselves more time to prepare and audit their accounts.

09 Rules on carrying over annual leave to be relaxed

  • Who does that affect?
    Employees.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    To allow workers to continue working during the COVID-19 crisis without losing out on their annual leave entitlement.
  • What has changed?
    Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry over up to 4 weeks leave into the next 2 leave years.

    Previously, most of the 28-day leave entitlement could not be carried between leave years, meaning workers lose their holiday if they do not take it.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 27 March 2020
    Proposed end date: 31 December 2022] (End of second leave year)
  • Call to action?
    Employees can now keep their leave entitlements and continue to work to give businesses the flexibility they need to recover from COVID-19.

10 Vehicle owners will be granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing

  • Who does that affect?
    Vehicle Owners.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    So that vehicle owners will not need to take their vehicle for an MOT test during the lockdown period.
  • What has changed?
    Owners of cars, vans and motorcycles whose MOT is due on or after 30 March 2020 will get a 6-month extension to their MOT expiry date (e.g. if a vehicle was due for an MOT by 3 May 2020, this will now be extended to 3 November 2020).
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 30 March 2020
    Proposed end date: 29 March 2021
  • Call to action?
    Vehicle owners must keep their vehicles in a roadworthy condition whilst in use.

11 Identity verification and signing deeds made easier for land registration purposes

  • Who does that affect?
    Solicitors and Conveyancers.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    To simplify the process of ID verification for land registration purposes.
  • What has changed?
    Identity verification for land registration purposes can now be undertaken by other specified persons in addition to conveyancers and chartered legal executives and can also be carried out by video call. The Land Registry will accept deeds that have been physically signed and witnessed in person and then electronically sent along with the final copy of the deed to their conveyancer.

    Previously, identity verification was carried out by conveyancers and chartered legal executives and the Land Registry did not accept electronic signatures.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 04 May 2020
    Proposed end date: Ongoing
  • Call to action?
    Businesses should be aware of the new identity verification procedures and take into account any possible delays due to lockdown measures.

12 Temporary changes to Statutory Residence Test

  • Who does that affect?
    Expatriates or non-domiciled persons currently in the UK working on COVID-19 related activities.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    So that expatriates or non-domiciled persons in the UK working on COVID related activity are not adversely affecting their own tax residency status.
  • What has changed?
    Days spent in the UK due to quarantine, self isolation, international border closures or at the request of an employer as a result of COVID-19 will be considered as exceptional, and will not count towards the residence tests.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 01 March 2020
    Proposed end date: 01 June 2020
  • Call to action?
    Expatriates or non-domiciled persons working on COVID-19 related activities in the UK no longer need to count those days in their residency test.

13  Off-payroll working (IR35) reforms delayed until next year

  • Who does that affect?
    Businesses, Contractors, Personal Service Companies.
  • Why are the changes being made?
    To minimise the disruption of the reforms to affected businesses during COVID-19.
  • What has changed?
    Reforms to off-payroll working rules have been delayed and will now come into force on 6 April 2021.

    Previously they were due to come into effect by 6 April 2020.
  • How long are the changes scheduled to last?
    Start date: 06 April 2020 (Start of delay)
    Proposed end date: 06 April 2021 (New rules begin)
  • Call to action?
    Businesses should use the extra time to assess the impact of the reforms on their business, their clients and service providers.

Do you want to review of all the COVID-19 regulation changes to see how they can benefit your business?

Get the full details and latest COVID-19 regulations updates on the Xsortal.

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