One of the largest book chains "Chitay-Gorod-Bukvoyed" is trying to get the tenants in court to get the benefits announced by the authorities on the background of the pandemic. According to "Kommersant", the retailer loses lawsuits for fee reduction to the owners of the premises.
If the matter can't be settled, some bookstores will have to close, the paper writes.
Often the refusals of owners of premises are connected with the fact that they themselves have a loan, and the courts have different interpretations of the provisions of the benefits, experts say.
In total, since the beginning of the year the book chain filed lawsuits against 25 landlords in different cities. The company said it had to do so because the partners did not provide lease incentives in connection with the pandemic and the temporary closure of stores last year, the newspaper says. In this case we are talking about the right imposed by the Russian government to postpone payment of rent from March to September last year for all tenants and the right to reduce it for companies from the list of affected industries, which specifically includes the book retail.
However, the courts in Moscow, Novosibirsk and Chelyabinsk upheld the landlords in these cases, the chain told "Kommersant".
Against this background, the chain has already closed four stores, now another 20 sites are under threat. In total, the bookstore chain, which continued to grow even in a pandemic, includes 667 outlets.
As experts note, landlords often refusal is motivated by their loan obligations to banks.
"In Moscow there are hardly two dozen shopping centers that do not have debt obligations. If discounts are granted, it is a very complex process of approvals between investors", - said Marina Malakhatko, director of retail department of CBRE in Russia. He explained that decisions on discounts were made on the basis of prospects of tenants to restore trade turnover after the pandemic.
According to Oleg Sheikin, an attorney of Forward Legal, usually in disputes on change of lease terms the courts side with landlords more often. However, in case of pandemic conditions the law does stipulate certain privileges for tenants which the courts do apply, the expert added.
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Author: Ksenia Gustova