COVID-19 and Massachusetts Retail Leases

This article was originally published in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and can be found here.

Damon M. Seligson | August 13, 2020

Retail tenants and commercial landlords are both experiencing business-threatening circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with the related government shutdowns and quarantine orders. Retail tenants have seen a significant loss of revenue as the pandemic continues while they remain obligated for significant expenses under their commercial leases. At the same time, commercial landlords are facing an ongoing problem in collecting rents from retailers. This dilemma exists through no fault of either party. Generally, the lease language will govern as to who bears the risk, but concepts of fairness and equity will likely play a role as these disputes are litigated.