COVID-19: Important change to the basis of business in commercial tenancy law in force

A corona-related restriction of use is considered a disturbance of the basis of business of tenancy and lease agreements. A corresponding legal clarification came into force at the beginning of the year. In the case of state-ordered corona measures, it is now legally presumed that they impair the basis of the business. This modifies § 313 BGB and clarifies that restrictions of use due to corona measures may constitute a disturbance of the basis of the contract.

The new regulation strengthens the negotiating position especially of the users of commercial premises and at the same time appeals to the willingness of the contracting parties to negotiate. In this way, the negotiating position of the users in particular is strengthened and, at the same time, an appeal is made to the willingness of the contracting parties to negotiate in order to find an acceptable reconciliation of interests through negotiation. The amendment to the law does not contain a blanket statutory right to reduce rent. This is based on the consideration that general solutions are out of the question, but that suitable solutions must be found for the individual case.

If the parties cannot reach an agreement, an accelerated court procedure can quickly resolve Corona disputes. The Code of Civil Procedure has been amended accordingly. If the parties are unable to reach an out-of-court settlement, the court is now to help. The legal dispute will be examined on an expedited basis and the proceedings will be conducted as a matter of priority. This has become necessary in order to quickly ensure legal clarity in view of the large number of ongoing proceedings.