Greindl & Köck

Rent Reduction for Business Premises due to COVID-19

According to a recent decision of the Austrian Supreme Court, the tenant of a business premise does not have to pay rent for April 2020 due to the general ban on entering the premises as part of the COVID 19 restrictions then governing.

At the relevant time the solar studio of the tenant could not be used due to the legal entry regulations. The tenant also did not use the business premises for administrative activities, storage of goods or in any other way during this period.

According to Section 1104 of the Austrian Civil Law Code no rent is to be paid if the object cannot be used due to extraordinary coincidences, such as a “plague”. According to jurisdiction the Supreme Court the COVID-19 pandemic qualifies as such a plague, even if the lack of potential use results only from official orders in relation to the plague .

In the case in question the rental object could not be used in accordance with the contractual agreement for the reasons stated above. Therefore, under this provision, the obligation to pay the rent did not apply during the relevant period. The fact that the tenant left part of the equipment of the solarium in the premises is irrelevant to this case.

You can find the full text of the decision (in German) with this link: OGH 21.10.2021, 3Ob78/21y