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New York is in one of its worst depressions since the American Revolution. Few landlords and commercial tenants have been completely immune from the governmentally imposed economic shutdown and COVID-19’s wrath. 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.
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By Alan Nochumson and Clementa Amazan
Part One in a Series
Over the years, the city government has amended the Philadelphia Zoning Code to include incentives to increase the amount of housing units as well as the size of such building structures. Over the course of several articles, we will be discussing the “zoning” bonuses a property owner can take advantage of when developing a property within city limits. This part delves into the Mixed Income Housing Bonus, Green Roof Bonus, and the Fresh Food Market Bonus.
By Brett S. Theisen and Mark B. Conlan
Even though payment of post-petition rent under a nonresidential lease (prior to rejection) has historically been an absolute requirement, bankruptcy courts, as courts of equity, have the ability during these extraordinary times to take a more flexible approach. This clearly is an evolving trend that should continue for at least the duration of the pandemic and perhaps beyond, as bankruptcy judges and practitioners seek out creative and unique responses to difficult issues.
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.