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Landlord/Tenant Practice in the Era of Covid-19

Landlord/Tenant Practice in the Era of Covid-19

The COVID-19 crisis led to forced closings of many businesses throughout the state. While many commercial tenants applied for and received government loans to assist with rent obligations, it has not been enough. As a result, I’ve heard firsthand from my commercial landlord clients who are also suffering over the loss of income from their tenants.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, I have opened well over one hundred new cases seeking enforcement of commercial leases. Initially, there were limitations on a landlord’s ability to sue for eviction, however, those limitations are now limited to residential tenancies. Consequently, my commercial landlord clients are now proceeding with formal notices and, in some cases, suits for eviction. In the multitude of cases that have hit my desk in recent months, my clients have made a good faith effort to avoid eviction by offering to negotiate rent relief. In some cases, amending the lease to spread back rent over the life of the lease was a simple solution. Unfortunately, in many other cases tenants are unwilling to resolve these issues or attempt to pay any portion of their obligation.

Given that commercial property owners likewise have their own obligations to lenders and investors—making it impossible to forgo rent collection—taking legal action has become inevitable. I am pleased to assist my business clients during this very challenging time, whether that be by facilitating an out-of-court agreement or seeking court intervention after reaching an impasse. If you have any questions about navigating your commercial lease, your Englander Fischer attorney can advise you. Please reach out.

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