The fire at the Buncefield Depot impacts or is likely to impact on a number of critical operational functions for businesses.  Whilst the Authorities are working hard to extinguish the fires, latest reports suggest that the next 24 hours are critical whilst Police say it could be months before the area is secured and the worst-affected businesses are able to return to their premises.

The following are implications that businesses affected by the fire should be aware of and associated action to take:

For Those Who Rent Business Premises

·       Check your lease:

i)     Can you withhold rent where occupation is not possible?  Ensure any rent suspension clause is activated immediately. 

ii) Is there a reinstatement period for any repair works to be undertaken?  Is this likely to be complied with?

iii)  Were you intending to remain in your premises long-term? If not, is there a break notice that could be operated in the near future?

iv)    Can you withhold service charge and other payments?

·     If you are unable to operate from your normal business premises, you may be eligible for business rates relief.

·     Does your insurance policy include a claim for business relocation/loss of profits?