Coronavirus pandemic and premise lease in commercial centres
Article 15 of the so-called ‘Anti-Crisis Shield’ law (adopted by the Polish Parliament on 31st of March 2020), provides rent reductions for entrepreneurs who were forced to halt their economic activity in shopping malls. This concerns owners of – amongst others – restaurants, bookshops and clothing stores closed in pursuance to the ordinance of the Minister of Health.
According to the special law, during the validity of the ban on conducting economic activities in commercial facilities exceeding 2000sq.m of sale area, the mutual obligations of parties to tenancy contracts are temporarily expired. Such also applies to the agreements of lease or any similar ones, by which sale area is hand on to use. This means that the lessor is not allowed to collect rent for the period of time when the lessee is not able to do business due to COVID19 pandemic.
However, this solution cannot be applied unconditionally. In order to do so, an offer to prolong the contract on hitherto conditions for the period of time of the validity of the ban and six months more. Such offer has to be submitted in the given commercial centre no later than 3 months after the ban was lifted. Failing to present such statement compliant with the special law will mean resignation and unwillingness to take advantage of abovementioned rent relief solution.
The law also reserves that the lease contracts are still bound by the regulations of the Civil Code concerning extraordinary restrictions in activities, such as but not limited to rebus sic stantibus and force majeure clauses. It is up to the entrepreneur to choose the appropriate legal solution to their situation.