As we are told by Idealista.com during this covid-19 crisis, many SMEs with hospitality premises rented to a small landlord are legally forsaken by the Government.

The Royal Decree that contemplates the rent moratorium is limited to stating that the parties can reach an agreement (there is no obligation to accept it) and that the deposit can be used to pay the rent. But the reality is that it is almost impossible to recover the deposit.

In the event that the lessee uses the deposit, he will have to cover said deposit within one year. But the legislator has not taken into account that in order to recover the deposit of a rent, from the public entity in which it was necessary to enter, a proof of termination or termination of the contract must be presented; having lost the opportunity to foresee what documentation, for these exceptional cases, should be presented to the public body, in order to recover, at least momentarily, the amount of the deposit.

So in what situation are the tenants whose  landlords are not obliged to accept the moratorium,  deferment, reduction or remission of rents, and are not able to fulfill the economic obligations contracted by contract?

When there is an inability to comply with the payment of the rent for the closure of the business premises (due to the cessation of activity), as a consequence of the measures that have had to be adopted due to the health crisis, there is no breach in its strict terms. , but a situation of excessive onerousness (costly or burdensome) of the lease has been caused for the lessee, impossible to fulfill by the latter, so the parties, by virtue of the principle of good faith, are called to negotiate on said situation , to try to moderate or modulate what was initially agreed and rebalance their contractual positions.

In the event that there is no possibility of agreement, the last recourse of the lessee is to request judicial assistance  invoking the application of the “rebus sic stantibus” clause  implicit in all contracts, in order for a third party to moderate or modulate the financial obligations of the rental agreement.

As stated in STS 447/2017, what is at issue is to “relax” the rule “pacta sunt servanda” (contracts bind the parties), not necessarily to extinguish legal relationships. The basis is good faith, and therefore, the effect, in principle, must be the modification of the contract to rebalance the obligations, and only in the event of impossibility the resolution of the obligation,  in both cases without compensation for non-compliance .

«The landlord, looking after his own interests, will probably try to initiate an eviction procedure for non-payment of rent, or for termination of the contract for non-compliance.»

La propia dinámica de la tramitación de estos procedimientos que se inicien por el arrendador, y la escasez de defensa que, por razón de la materia, tiene el previsto para el desahucio por falta de pago o resolución de arrendamiento por incumplimiento, aconseja que el arrendatario no se relaje y entable el procedimiento de «rebus sic stantibus», con el fin de desplegar en plenitud sus medios de prueba y defensa para conservar su negocio. Así podrá proponer, dependiendo de cada caso particular, desde una exoneración de la renta, a una rebaja de la misma, en aplicación por analogía, de lo previsto en el artículo 1575 del Código Civil.

Si, además el local de negocio hubiera sido alquilado con un uso o destino específico y exclusivo impuesto por el arrendador, o con prohibición expresa de cambio de destino sin su autorización, y dicha actividad hubiera sido prohibida incluso durante la desescalada del estado de alarma, sería discutible la resolución del contrato de arrendamiento, por ser su objeto no solamente el inmueble, sino también el negocio en él mismo instalado, y quedar por tanto sin contenido.

«Lo que es cierto es que con la nula previsión legislativa en cuanto a estos arrendamientos, el debate en los juzgados va a estar servido»