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Most commercial leases are forged by a deliberate, organic process that includes face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and written correspondence between the landlord, the tenant and their respective agents, culminating in a written contract that historically was required to be signed by hand by both parties. Over the past 20 years, the rise of email as a generally-accepted medium of business communication has prompted the law to allow certain contracts, including leases, to be entered into electronically, without a handwritten signature. Progress has been made in this respect, both by statute and the common law; however, tweaking a centuries-old legal axiom takes time. This article addresses recent developments and the present state of the law with respect to commercial leasing and electronic media.
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By Marisa L. Byram
As we all expected, cases are being brought and decided on the issue of whether the COVID-19 pandemic and related governmental shut down orders trigger force majeure clauses in commercial leases and operate to excuse the performance of commercial tenants. While force majeure clauses vary widely, a recent decision from an Illinois Bankruptcy Court may provide guidance to help resolve disputes without resorting to the courts.
By Ian Steinberg
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered another striking blow to property owners when he signed into law N.Y.C. Council Int. No. 1932-A (2020) on May 26, 2020. The new legislation prohibits landlords from enforcing personal guaranties on certain commercial leases for defaults occurring between March 7, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2020.
By Adam Leitman Bailey and Dov Treiman
Not including what may have been negotiated in a commercial lease, there are three traditional theories under which commercial tenants could seek to assert entitlement to forgiveness of their rent: frustration of purpose, impossibility of performance, and force majeure.
By Phillip Bantz
National Association of Realtors Survey Shows Most Commercial Tenants Struggling to Pay Rent
While the residential real estate market is experiencing what appears to be a swift rebound from the coronavirus-induced slump, the commercial landscape still looks relatively bleak.