REWORKING COMMERCIAL LEASE AGREEMENTS IN PANDEMIC TIMES

What is at issue? The severity of the Covid-19 pandemic has obliged tenants and landlords worldwide to revisit the operation of almost all their existing commercial leases. Business as usual is not possible. There has been a rush to make changes.

Many of the exchanges lying ahead for tenants and landlords may prove difficult and complex. The stakes are high. Parties will be looking in the first instance to protect their interests and ensure business sustainability. How should they best go about reconciling differences and reaching optimum agreements across a range of different circumstances in the context of the pandemic and its economic consequences?

The goal. What’s needed is a solution that offers the best prospects for landlords and tenants to weather the storm together and emerge with viable businesses once the worst is over.

A smart response. We believe that extraordinary times call for extraordinary engagement. A win-lose resort to power or litigation cannot serve the best interests of parties who are dependent on one another. The parties need to engage with one another constructively and imaginatively. Dictating terms or avoiding discussions cannot maximize the parties’ – and our society’s – common interest in securing good outcomes.

Crafting a good engagement process. Given the high stakes, a problem-solving approach to the issues facing parties will be required. To enhance the quality of exchanges with one another, it would help a lot if tenants and landlords, supported by their advisers:

  • enlist the services of independent facilitators to guide their discussions, consultations and negotiations
  • agree at the outset key principles to underpin the process, for example, shared objectives, shared gain and pain, good faith and appropriate information disclosure
  • arrive at dynamic solutions to meet changing circumstances
  • agree to expedited dispute resolution where needed

What we can do for tenants and landlords. Conflict Dynamics has appointed a specialist panel of facilitators and mediators to support tenants and landlords in reviewing commercial lease agreements and settling new arrangements to deal with the demands of these tough pandemic times. The panel members are internationally and nationally accredited with extensive experience in facilitating negotiations, trouble-shooting their implementation and dealing with any disputes that may arise. The panel members are:

The panel members are:

John Brand

Laurence Boulle

Thabisile Dlamini-Smit

Philip Ginsberg SC

Peter Harris

Rethabile Mokgatle (Nee Makhetha)

Batsetsana Molebatsi

Afzal Mosam SC

Charles Nupen

Ebrahim Patelia

Tefo Raditapole

Meshack Ravuku

Verushka September

Felicity Steadman

Chris Todd

Clive Thompson

PJ Veldhuizen

 

 

Contact Marion Shaer at marion@conflictdynamics.co.za to discuss the best plan of action for your circumstances.