What does the "Wagatha Christie" debacle and the restructuring tool known as a CVA have in common? Answer: ask anyone and they will tell you exactly what "team" they support. Either you are "team CVA" and to you a CVA is a very useful restructuring tool, which allows a company to reorganise its affairs in a comprehensive manner. Alternatively you are "team landlord" and a CVA is just a device which is being used tactically to shaft property stakeholders.

In an attempt to decern the true impact of CVAs on landlords, last year the Insolvency Service commissioned RSM LLP to produce a report analysing the impact of CVAs on property stakeholders. This report is expected imminently and will be considered carefully by the Insolvency Service's policy team and may well form the basis for any proposed legislative changes to the CVA regime.

Cast your mind back to 2018/19, when we saw a plethora of CVAs impacting the retail and casual dining sector. Given the nature of those businesses, with their large property portfolios, it is perhaps no surprise that landlords didn't fare well. What we also know is that despite their best efforts, the legal challenges that have been mounted by landlords haven't resulted in much success for landlords.

If you ask "team landlord" they will hope that the RSM report will demonstrate that as a class they are unfairly treated so that any imbalance can be redressed. If you are "team CVA" you will hope that the report highlights that age old fact that insolvency is unfair, but corporate rescue needs to be championed for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Like Wagatha Christie – all we can do now is wait and see what the verdict is.


Lucy McCann