COVID-19 has been affecting brick and mortar businesses in ways we could have never imagined. Restaurants, entertainment venues, office buildings, and personal services have all felt the financial toll. The way commercial landlords and business tenants draft leases have been forever changed.
COVID-19 has and is still causing a financial strain on the economy and for tenants and landlords alike. Many tenants and landlords are requesting lease negotiations to help them during these trying times. Both tenants and landlords should remain flexible as they each face their challenges.
Some leases have written provisions that may allow for a rent abatement for the tenant if there is physical damage to the property. It must be determined that contamination of a building constitutes physical damage. If a tenant’s access to their place is closed or eliminated due to the COVID-19 shut-downs, a landlord must provide the agreed-upon services or provisions in the lease should be reviewed to confirm whether a tenant has the right to withhold rent.
Force Majeure Clauses
Force majeure provisions or clauses in the lease which may or may not pertain to pandemics or public health emergencies should be reviewed. While health emergencies and disease are not typically written in a lease, these clauses, if there, may excuse a party from fulfilling their contractual obligations. In the future, landlords and tenants may include language that will protect them in extraordinary circumstances.
Health and Safety Issues
As people return to brick and mortar buildings to work, we continue to face new safety precautions and procedures. Post-COVID landlords are beginning to include language in their lease terms related to COVID-19, possible future pandemics, and unexpected events to address health and safety issues.
The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on commercial real estate won’t be known for some time. Negotiations between landlord and tenant will control how the force majeure clause will affect a tenant’s obligation to pay rent. It may be wise for them to introduce building regulations relating to common areas where a virus could be spread, and terms relating to tenants compliance with CDC rules and regulations.
Richard S. Weinstein
A real estate attorney can help you with all of your real estate needs. Richard S. Weinstein is an experienced real estate attorney and title agent who can help you with your real estate transactions. Having legal representation makes good real estate business sense. A competent and experienced attorney will protect your interests.
With over 50 years of experience as an attorney, Richard S. Weinstein assists clients with the important financial situations in their lives. Whether you are dealing with bankruptcy, real estate (both commercial and residential, including short sales, foreclosures, and title insurance), estate planning, probate, business formations, or sales or mergers, Richard S. Weinstein is the attorney with the education, experience, and knowledge you need! Call us at (561) 745-3040 or visit his website at rweinsteinlaw.com.
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