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For the last year, commercial tenants — including some big-name tenants like Hugo Boss, Christian Louboutin and Gap — have been arguing that their rent obligations should be eliminated or reduced during the pandemic under the frustration-of-purpose doctrine. While most courts have rejected these arguments, some recent decisions have come out in tenants’ favor on this point. Some have applauded these latter decisions as providing much needed rent relief to struggling tenants, but these decisions and the use of the frustration-of-purpose doctrine to absolve commercial tenants of their obligation to pay rent could signal headwinds for the commercial real estate market — and the economy more generally — as demonstrated by some COVID-related New York cases.
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By Ann E. Ryan and Adrienne B. Koch
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some tenants were able to negotiate termination agreements with their landlords. But even though a landlord may agree to terminate a lease to regain control of a defaulting tenant’s space without costly and lengthy litigation, typically a defaulting tenant that otherwise has no contractual right to terminate its lease will be in a much weaker bargaining position with respect to the conditions for termination.
By Erik Sherman
Disaster — a seemingly closed economy, crashed supply chains, tight labor availability, and many millions out of work — turned into rising values, some hot sectors, and rising rents and increased stability by 2021. Stepping into 2022 should be a good deal less jarring. And yet, there might be changes and surprises. Here’s what experts see as coming up.
By Stewart E. Sterk
When, at the culmination of environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), a municipality resolves to require a developer to ameliorate environmental impacts, can anyone other than the municipality itself enforce the requirement?
By Anthony Davies
The law firm office cannot remain unchanged, therefore, as if frozen in time set to some date prior to the onset of pandemic, when all the terms and meaning have all changed. In fact, the office must now provide benefits or an experience the lawyers and staff cannot get at home.