Courts intervene on the fees


Several judgments of the Italian judges who, following the health emergency, intervene in support of traders in difficulty in paying the rent

man closes shop for crisis
by Lucia Izzo – Coronavirus and commercial rentals. A disastrous combination that has fallen like an ax on many traders who, due to the containment measures put in place to combat the COVID-19 virus, have found themselves having to pay the rent of their premises despite the lowered shutters.

Commercial leases and COVID-19: word to the Courts

The measures put in place by the Government, in fact, certainly did not have the effect of suspending the payment of the fees nor did they allow the debtors to escape any liability in case of non-payment of the same. This had various consequences on a civil law level and, for this reason, the Italian Courts have repeatedly found themselves issuing emergency measures.

The rulings of the Court of Venice

With a provision signed by judge Daniela Bruni, the first civil section of the Court of Venice ordered the Monte dei Paschi di Siena institute not to pay the amount requested with reference to the guarantee entered into as guarantee of a lease for commercial premises.

Given the difficulties faced by the lagoon city (from the record high water last November and until the arrival of the Coronavirus), the lessor had found it impossible to fulfill the contract due to a cause not attributable to her (see art. 1256 cc) such as to justify the unilateral withdrawal.

However, the owner of the commercial premises, who had accepted the return of the keys, had subsequently objected to the failure to give six months’ notice and the procedure for the enforcement of the guarantee entered into at the credit institution was activated.

However, the magistrate acknowledged the emergency situation which prevented the tenant, not by his own act, from coping with the company activity and therefore, accepting the request for a precautionary measure pursuant to art. 700 c.p.c., has granted an injunction against the Bank to avoid recourse against the tenant.

The judgment of the Court of Bologna

The Court of Bologna has ruled in favor of a beauty center closed following the health emergency, with the decree n. 4976/2020 (below attachment). The conductor of the center had represented the impossibility of proceeding with the payment of the fees because, due to the restrictive measures in force to combat the pandemic from Covid-19, the closure of the business activity had been ordered starting from February 24, 2020 and , probably, until 18 June 2020.

However, the presenter had done so dation of bank checks “to guarantee” the payment of the rent for the period April-July 2020, but due to the crisis it indicates that it could suffer detrimental consequences if the securities had been collected and not paid due to a lack of funding (e.g. reporting to the CAI).

Again, report to the magistrate that they are hanging concrete negotiations relating to a settlement proposal aimed at agreeing a temporary reduction of the rent in the period from April 2020 to September 2020. In accepting the request, the judge orders pursuant to art. 669-sexies, paragraph 2, of the Italian Criminal Code, subject to confirmation or revocation with subsequent order, not to collect the checks issued to guarantee payment.

The decision of the Genoa court

Another ruling comes from the court of Genoa (decree of 1.6.2020) which expressed itself on the story of a disco forced to close due to the lockdown and to present bills to guarantee the payment of the rent, due to the impossibility to arrange for payment due to the closure of the business.

The lessor, although aware of the lessee’s difficulties, had announced his intention to collect the promissory notes issued in his favor. Hence the appeal of the conducting company to the court, pursuant to art. 700 c.p.c., with which i serious adverse effects that the same could suffer if the securities given as collateral were collected and not paid for lack of funding. the Ligurian judge, having assessed the fumus boni iuris, accepted the precautionary petition, showing himself sensitive to the plausibly disastrous consequences for the entrepreneur, and ordered the lessor to refrain from presenting the bills of exchange for collection, also inhibiting the execution of turn to third parties.

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