Since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we have received countless questions from clients asking the effect of the shutdown on their business lease situation, and in particular if they can withhold their rent. We have been asked, for example, would not the force majeure (so-called acts of God) clause excuse their performance. In the vast majority of cases, the answer is no. Unfortunately, we often have to tell them that their leases do not permit them to simply stop paying rent, even during the current crisis. For more detailed information on possible contractual issues including commercial leases check out Contractual Obligations in Response to COVID-19.
However, this does not mean that we cannot assist in trying to get you some relief under your business lease. As the crisis continues, we are working with clients to renegotiate their leases, on at least a temporary basis, or to obtain rent abatements or deferrals among other restructuring tactics. Contact your attorney at Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP or any member of the Real Estate Law Group to discuss how we might be able to find you relief to ensure the survival of your business.