News via Idealista today.

The last Council of Ministers has approved the creation of renegotiation mechanisms and deferment of rent payments for tenants of business premises with economic problems owned by large holders or public companies. 

For cases of small landowners, Minister Calviño clarified that the use of the bond as a payment mechanism will be facilitated, and bilateral agreements between the lessor and the lessee affected by the crisis will be favored.

The  Minister Reyes Maroto  already announced that the government was studying provide relief for entrepreneurs and freelancers with problems caused by the crisis to pay the rent of the property where they develop their economic activity . The cost of  renting business premises  is one of the most important and difficult expenses for many companies and freelancers, while keeping their offices or shops closed, and generating no income.

The Government tries to minimize operating costs for SMEs and the self-employed who have seen their incomes decrease significantly,  as a consequence of the crisis caused by the covid-19. To this end, a mechanism will be established for the renegotiation and postponement of the rent payment of business premises whose owners are large holders or public companies.

In the event that the owner of the premises does not fall within these parameters, the economic vice president Nadia Calviño has clarified that ” the use of the deposit as a payment mechanism is facilitated ,” but that it will have to be replaced within a year. .

The Official State Gazette (BOE) of April 22 has released Royal Decree-Law 15/2020, of April 21, on complementary urgent measures to support the economy and employment, which includes measures to reduce SMEs and self-employed operating costs

What help can SMEs and freelancers ask for

Moratorium in the event that the lessor has more than 10 properties

Tenants affected by the covid-19 crisis may request a moratorium on the rental income payment that will be applied automatically and will affect the period of time that the state of alarm lasts, its extensions and the following monthly payments (extendable one by one), if the period is insufficient in relation to the impact of the virus, but it cannot exceed four months.

It is a deferment of the rent payment without interest or accrual from the next monthly rent and by dividing the installments within a period of two years that will begin to count from the moment the situation is overcome. referred to above or after the end of the four-month period mentioned above. Of course, always within the term of the lease or any of its extensions.

Tenants who have a large holder as their landlord, understood by that company, public entity or natural person who owns more than 10 urban properties (excluding garages and storage rooms) may request this moratorium in the payment of rent .

This moratorium will be requested within a month from the entry into force of this royal decree-law (April 23, 2020) and must be accepted by the lessor as long as a prior agreement of the parties had not been reached moratorium or reduction of income.

Help in case the landlord is not large property owner

In the event that the SME or the self-employed has a lessor who is not considered a large holder (being the owner of more than 10 properties), that is, is a small owner, they may request, within one month, from the entry in force of this Royal Decree-law (on April 23, 2020), the temporary and extraordinary postponement in the payment of the rent provided that this moratorium or the reduction of the rent had not been previously agreed by both parties.

Both tenant and lessor may have the deposit to pay all or part of a monthly rent . In case of having the deposit, the lessee must replace it within one year from the conclusion of the agreement or within the remaining term of the contract, in the event that this period is less than one year.

What freelancers and SMEs can ask for the moratorium on rent

SMEs and the self-employed who meet the following requirements may apply for rental aid:

1. In the case of the self-employed person with a lease of a premises affected by his economic activity:

  • You must be affiliated and registered on the date of the declaration of the state of alarm of March 14 in the Special Regime of Social Security for Self-employed or Self-Employed Workers or in the Special Regime of Social Security for Workers del Mar or, as the case may be, one of the RETA substitute Mutual Societies.
  • That its activity has been suspended due to the entry of the alarm state.
  • In the event that the economic activity has not been suspended, as a consequence of the state of alarm, the self-employed person must prove the reduction in the billing of the calendar month prior to the request for the postponement by at least 75%, in relation to with the monthly average invoice of the quarter to which the said month refers to the previous year.

2. In the case of the SME with a lease of a property to carry out its economic activity:

  • That the limits established in article 257.1 of Royal Legislative Decree 1/2010, of July 2 (Capital Companies Law) are not exceeded. That is, that the total of the items of the assets of the SME does not exceed four million euros for two consecutive years, or that the net amount of its annual turnover does not exceed eight million euros for two consecutive years, or that the average number of workers during the year does not exceed 50.
  • That the activity has been suspended due to the entry into force of the state of alarm or by orders issued by the competent Authority.
  • In the event that the activity is not suspended due to the state of alarm, the SME must accredit the reduction of its turnover in the calendar month prior to the request for the moratorium by at least 75%, in relation to the average monthly billing of the quarter to which the said month refers to the previous year.

How to prove the requirements to request the deferment of the rent

The tenant must prove that they are in a position to request the moratorium before the landlord with the following documentation:

  • In the event of having suffered a reduction in activity, you must submit a responsible declaration in which, based on accounting information and income and expenses, the reduction in monthly invoicing is recorded at least 75% in relation to the average monthly turnover of the same quarter of the previous year.
  • In any case, when the lessor requests it, the tenant will have to show their accounting books to the owner to prove the reduction in the activity.
  • In the event of having suffered a suspension of activity, the SME or the self-employed must prove by means of a certificate issued by the Tax Agency or the competent body of the autonomous community on the basis of the declaration of cessation of activity declared by the interested party.

Consequences of improper application of the moratorium

The tenants who have benefited from the temporary and extraordinary postponement in the payment of the rent without meeting the requirements, will be responsible for the damages and losses that may have occurred, as well as for all the expenses generated by the application of these exceptional measures, without prejudice to the responsibilities of another order to which the conduct of the same could give rise.