Tax & Legal Highlights for Real Estate – April 2020
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1. Expiration of mutual obligations of the parties under a lease agreement
In relation to lease agreements the Act on special arrangements for preventing, counteracting and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them as of 31 March 2020 (the so-called Anti-Crisis Shield 1.0), provides for expiration of mutual obligations of the parties under a lease agreement during the ban on conducting activity in commercial objects with a sales area above 2000 m² introduced by the Minister of Health. The tenant willing to benefit from such a expiry shall, within three months from the date of lifting the ban, submit to the landlord an unconditional and binding offer, expressing its will to extend the validity of the agreement under the current conditions by the ban period plus six months. The extension of the agreement is therefore based on the tenant’s declaration of will, provided that only tenants that are not in delay with the payment of rent or other fees related to use of the premises may benefit from the above expiry. Consequences of not submitting the offer by the tenant has not been clearly indicated by the legislator and are the subject of the discussion.
2. Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0 – update on suspension of procedural deadlines
The President signed an act on special support instruments in connection with the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the so-called Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0), which excludes from the provision of the Anti-Crisis Shield 1.0 on the suspension of procedural deadlines under the Code of Administrative Procedure and the Law on Proceedings before Administrative Courts, cases concerning:
– development conditions – as a consequence, architectural-construction authorities should issue decisions on the development conditions within the generally prescribed time limits, and in the case a party receives a decision establishing the development conditions or a decision on refusal to establish them, the time limit for lodging an appeal against such a decision or a complaint to the administrative court is as follows from the general rules;
– procedures on adopting a local master plan – the locally competent planning authority is obliged to request opinions or arrangements to the draft plan from the relevant administrative bodies and administrative bodies participating in the procedure of adopting the local plan will be obliged to perform their tasks on time;
– adoption by the municipal council of a resolution on determining the location of a housing investment or refusal to determine the location – applications submitted by investors under the Act of 5 July 2018 on Facilitation of Preparation and Implementation of Housing Investments and Accompanying Investments should be considered in timely manner;
– an application for an occupancy permit before the entry into force of the provisions of Shield 2.0, for which no occupancy permit has been issued yet – such an application will be considered a notice of completion of construction, and the absence of an objection from the architectural-construction authority allows the investor to start using the construction object without waiting for a relevant administrative decision in this respect.
3. Entrepreneurs have an opportunity to reorganize their companies still during the epidemic state.
The Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0. has extended the catalogue of urgent cases reviewed in the event of complete discontinuation of activities by a common court due to COVID-19 by cases for handling restructuring applications, which gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to reorganize their companies still during the epidemic state. In addition, if a plaintiff was established during an emergency or epidemic state, a 30-day suspension of the deadline for filing an application for bankruptcy shall apply. This provision is advantageous to entrepreneurs, although it is temporary, as within 30 days after the state of epidemic ends the entrepreneur will have to file for bankruptcy if the condition of his/her company has not improved in the meantime.
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