CORONAVIRUS AND RESTAURANTS: HOW TO SUSPEND RENTAL AGREEMENTS
Due to the Coronavirus crisis, governments have decided to extend containment measures to stop the spread of the Covid-19.
Consequently, the crisis will still be long for the catering sector, which will have to face obvious economic problems linked to suppliers, employees, and rents. Also, these businesses will hardly reopen in the same way. Business owners will most likely have to reduce the number of seats since the safety distances have to be undoubtedly guaranteed for a while.
So, here is an example of a letter that can be sent to the landlords to renegotiate or suspend the rental contract.
With reference to the commercial real estate lease agreement stipulated between us, it should be noted that as known, according to the urgent decree – issued to counter and contain the spread of the epidemiological emergency of international importance from COVID-19 – first, my activity was severely limited and then, unexpectedly, completely suspended, which is why I was unable to carry out ordinary activities in the business of the contract mentioned above. The containment measures are likely to be extended for an unpredictable period.
Due to the occurrence of such serious and exceptional events, which suddenly imposed the closure of the business with consequent unusability of the premises in question, despite myself, I am not able to pay the rent.
Obviously, failure to comply with the payment terms for the period in which the extraordinary measures adopted by the Government will remain in force cannot be attributed to me. It is reasonable to believe that the legislator, understanding the risks associated with the imposition of the closure of commercial activities also of microenterprises, considered that the failure to realize revenue by the tenant could make it impossible to pay the rent and that this is not attributable to him.
In other words, this means that the objective impossibility of using the property of the Landlord, necessarily of a temporary nature, justifies for the duration of this period that the tenant can suspend the payment of the rent. There is no doubt, in this regard, that the ban of the Administrative Authority was an unpredictable and surpassing event, as well as entirely unrelated to the will of the parties.
But there is more. The objective impossibility of carrying out the ordinary activity in the premises mentioned above has led and is leading to the excessive burden of the contractual rental fee, not allowing to achieve the purpose pursued by the contract, namely the use of the assets leased to carry out the business activity of this company. There is no doubt that the inability to open the business to the public has brought to a sudden imbalance between the originally agreed performances, which requires a negotiating intervention that will allow the equity to be restored.
In the light of the above, as it is not possible at the moment to foresee for how long the notorious restrictive measures adopted by the Government will remain in force, all legal protection reserved, for all the above reasons we ask for suspension of the rental payment until possible by law to resume ordinary activities and, in any case, to renegotiate the contractual conditions to rebalance them equally.
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)