It is a no of the Court of Cassation. She rejected this Thursday the appeal of several traders forced to close during the confinement decreed in the spring of 2020 to stem the Covid-19 pandemic and who were claiming a discount on their rents.
In three judgments, the highest court of the judiciary ordered these merchants to pay their unpaid rent during the period when non-essential businesses were closed. It judges that the ban, except for exceptions, on leaving home decreed to stem the spread of the Covid, “general and temporary measure”, is not attributable to the lessors and has not definitively deprived the traders of using their premises.
“Committing the responsibility of the State”
This decision will have important consequences: in the French courts, many disputes between traders and their lessors had been put on hold pending the Court’s case law. It had selected three files out of the 30 comparables that had been sent to it: those of a chain of low-cost stores, a Bordeaux real estate agency and a tourist residence.
“It is a disappointing decision for the takers [les locataires]who will now consider how to engage the responsibility of the State”, reacted Me Guillaume Hannotin, lawyer for the chain of discount stores Action.
“A writing accident”
He believes that “economic considerations weighed heavily in this decision which invites the lessees to believe that it is because of an editorial accident that they are not entitled to compensation”.
“The texts which are referred to” in the decision rendered by the Court of Cassation “are not those under which the stores closed, but texts from March and April 2020 which affected the freedom of movement of natural persons”, estimates- he.