Commercial leases and the provisions within them are a matter for the parties involved. Furthermore, receivers are independent in the exercise of their statutory duties and subject to court oversight.
Therefore, it would be inappropriate to comment on the specific case raised by the Deputy.
A receiver can be appointed on foot of the powers contained in a debenture (written loan agreement), or on foot of a Court Order. The status of a receiver will depend upon how they have been appointed.
Receivers and receivership are regulated under Part 8 of the Companies Act 2014 (the Companies Act).
Section 437(5) provides that the appointment of a receiver and the conferral of powers in relation to the property of a company does not affect any rights in relation to that property of any other person.
Beyond this, there are other safeguards for creditors and contributories of a company under receivership:
- Under section 438 a creditor or contributory may apply to the court for directions in relation to any matter in connection with the performance or otherwise, by the receiver, of his or her functions.
- Under section 443 creditors may apply for the court power to order the return of assets improperly transferred.
- In addition, under section 435 the court may, on cause shown, remove a receiver of the property of a company and appoint another receiver.
I want to acknowledge that many businesses have seen their custom dry up during COVID-19 and have had to approach their landlords seeking new arrangements to reflect the realities they face. Tenants and landlords need to talk to each other and come to some arrangement, as it is in everybody’s interest that terms are amicably agreed. To help with this, there is a commitment in the Programme for Government that commits to creating a Code of Conduct between landlords and tenants for commercial rents. I expect this Code, which aims to facilitate dialogue between commercial landlords and tenants to come to an arrangement, to be published very shortly.