Entry into force of the Anti-Crisis Shield, i.e. the 31 March 2020 amendments to the Anti-Crisis Act, has had a strong impact on the real estate market, especially the rental market for space at shopping centres. In addition to the widely discussed Art. 15ze, which has extinguished mutual obligations of the parties to lease agreements, the parliament has also introduced another important provision which may significantly affect the rights and obligations of not only the parties to lease agreements, but also other participants in commerce.
For obvious reasons, remote signing of contracts has assumed great significance recently. To conclude a contract, is it sufficient to exchange a few emails or to transmit electronically signed documents? It depends.
Many businesses and their lawyers are now analysing the impact of the coronavirus on their contractual obligations. In the case of some contracts the situation is further complicated by the fact that the contract is governed by foreign law.
The pandemic may delay the performance of construction works and increase their costs. It may even make it completely impossible for a contractor to fulfil its obligations. But how this affects the contractors’ legal situation depends on the factual circumstances of the given case and the wording of the specific construction contract.
Even such unusual circumstances as a pandemic do not overthrow the general principle that contracts should be performed (pacta sunt servanda). But this does not mean that the current situation has no impact on the substance or performance of contractual obligations.
In the tough times of battling the coronavirus, many tenants are seeking ways to reduce their rent, release themselves from the obligation to pay rent, or avoid other obligations under their existing leases. What opportunities does the law offer them?