Düsseldorf Retailers and the real estate industry have agreed on recommendations for rent reductions in the Corona crisis. According to a joint code of conduct, dealers should be able to count on a rent reduction of 50 percent for the period of state-mandated business closings, the industry association HDE and the Central Real Estate Committee (ZIA) announced on Wednesday.
A lower value should apply for the following three months. “Retail and the real estate industry have a common interest in future-proof inner cities,” said HDE President Josef Sanktjohanser.
After a long judicial clarification of rental disputes, the inner cities threatened to become deserted. “Trade and the real estate industry are shared by fate,” emphasized ZIA President Andreas Mattner: “We both have an interest in eliminating existing legal uncertainties at short notice, amicably and out of court.”
Numerous retailers outside the grocery trade had to close their branches due to the state-decreed measures to contain the corona pandemic. There are still requirements – consumers have to wear protective masks, for example, and the number of customers on the sales areas is limited.
Sales collapsed during the crisis, but costs such as rents continue to run. In many rental contracts, however, payments are also linked to sales. Chains such as the Douglas perfumery, the electronics retailers Media Markt and Saturn or the department store giant Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof are negotiating with their landlords about rent reductions.
“The pandemic has plunged the retail sector into one of the biggest crises since the Second World War,” complained Sanktjohanser. Risks cannot be borne by the tenant alone – but there is no clarity on this in German law. The legally non-binding code should now serve as a guideline.
The dealers affected by the six-week closure are estimated to have accumulated rental debts of around 2.6 billion euros. “We want to encourage tenants and landlords to approach each other,” said Mattner. The situation is also dramatic for his industry – a lack of income also endangers landlords.
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