Are you affected by the corona crisis? Government grants affected commercial tenants a loan

Joost PeetersPartner, STUDIO | LEGALE

Several companies had to close down as a result of the measures concerning the coronavirus taken by the National Security Council as from March 12, 2020. As a result, their revenues were lost in whole or in part and many companies experienced difficulties in paying their commercial rents.
The Flemish Government decided to support the affected companies and, under certain conditions, to grant them a loan for the commercial rent.

What does this loan for the commercial rent imply?
− Through a loan, the Flemish government will advance two months’ rent to the commercial tenant.
− In exchange, the landlord must forfeit one or two months’ rent.
− PMV/z-Leningen (Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen) pays the lent amount directly to the landlord in the name and on behalf of the Flemish Region.

Which companies are eligible?
In order to be eligible for this loan for commercial rent, your company must meet the following condition:
1. There is a registered rental agreement for a commercial property located in the Flemish Region (or there is a similar legal structure whereby a commercial property is made available for a fee, such as a ground rent, usufruct…).
2. The company did not have any rent arrears for the premises concerned on the 15th of March 2020.
3. The company was obliged to close all or part of its physical premises as a result of the federal corona-measures
4. The tenant and the landlord enter into a voluntary agreement providing for the suspension of the commercial rent payment obligation for 3 or 4 months. The landlord grants a waiver of 1 or 2 months rent, including charges. The tenant applies for a loan for the payment of 2 months rent.

Where to apply for the loan for commercial rent?
The tenant must apply for the loan for commercial rent digitally via the pink button on the next website of the “Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen”(VLAIO) before the 1st of October 2020:
The tenant needs the following information for the online request:
− The original rental agreement (registration number, dates, …)
− The details of the tenant, landlord and the property(s) concerned
− Agreements about the month(s) to which the agreement will apply.

What are the financial conditions of the loan for commercial rent?
The loan for commercial rent is limited per company and per property to 2 months’ rent, including charges. The loan for all buildings of one company together can amount to a maximum of 35,000 euros.
The company has until no later than 24 months after the loan has been granted to repay it in full at an interest rate of 2%. The repayments should only start 6 months after the allocation of the loan and will be spread evenly over the remaining 18 months from that point on.

Why is this an interesting arrangement for both the tenant and the landlord?
It is a voluntary arrangement, so no party can be obliged to participate. However, there are several advantages for both the tenant and the landlord.
− Although the landlord will waive 1 or 2 months’ rent, in this way he gains the assurance that the rent for the following 2 months will actually be paid. The payment of the loan for commercial rent will be made directly to the landlord. There is also a good chance that the landlord will be able to continue renting out his property to the same tenant after the corona crisis.
− The tenant will receive assistance with his payment difficulties to overcome the corona crisis. In addition, his liquidity position improves, increasing his chances of survival.


Contributing Advisors

Christian ClementPartner, STUDIO | LEGALE

Lieselotte VrintsPartner, STUDIO | LEGALE

Laurie PeerPartner, STUDIO | LEGALE