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(new: Statement C&A 6th paragraph.)
MUNICH (dpa-AFX) – The fashion department store C&A suffered a defeat in the dispute over rent withheld in the Corona crisis. The district court Munich I gave the complainant landlord of a branch in Munich city center right on Friday. C&A should now pay the rent for April plus interest.
C&A had cited the corona-related closings in order to refuse the rent. During this time, the rooms were not suitable for running a textile department store, which represented a defect in the rental property, the company now argued in court. The fact that a shop is accessible to the public is a basic condition for leasing to retailers. This usability risk affects the landlord.
The landlord had argued against it that there was no material defect. The judge came to the same conclusion. The use risk cannot be passed on to the landlord, according to his decision.
The judge also did not see an adjustment of the lease as mandatory. For this, the rent payment for C&A should have been unreasonable, which he denied, however. It is reasonable for the company to set up a reserve in the amount of one month’s rent “in general and also on the basis of the results from the previous three financial years”.
The court did not say how much the retained monthly rent was. However, the amount in dispute, which was a good one million euros, provides a clue. The verdict is not yet legally binding. In addition, the court emphasized that it was an individual decision.
C&A was disappointed with the court’s decision. “We are convinced that the enormous burden of this pandemic should be borne by the tenants and the landlords together,” said the company. “We will decide on further possible steps after a detailed examination of the reasoning of the court.”
In addition to C&A, several other retail chains stopped or cut rental payments during the first Corona wave, including the shoe retail chain Deichmann and Hennes & Mauritz (HennesMauritz AB (HM, H&M)) boutiques. Businesses are suffering from the closings. Landlords had protested sharply against it. The federal government gave the impetus to stop rents with its first rescue package. Among other things, it stated that pandemic-related rental suspensions in the period from April to June were not a reason for termination./ruc/DP/men