Legal Arrangements Made Within the Context of Eviction due to Nonpayment of the Rent in Office/Workplace Leases and Relevant Legal Arrangements Made due to the Corona Virus (Covid-19) Outbreak
Office/workplace leases represent a type of lease relationship affected directly by the profit losses of businesses. As is known, office/workplace activities are suspended or substantially reduced due to the corona virus (Covid-19) which causes a major pandemic.
Hence, since there is a risk of failure to pay the rents for office/workplace leases, it becomes necessary to carry out evaluations on this issue.
A. EVICTION DUE TO NONPAYMENT OF THE RENT IN OFFICE/WORKPLACE LEASES
In principle, in roofed workplace leases, the termination of the agreement by the lessor is possible by means of the following methods, due to nonpayment of the rent by the lessee:
As per the article 352 of the Turkish Obligations Code dated 11/01/2011 numbered 6098 (the “TOC”), if the lessee causes to be given him two justifiable notices due to nonpayment of the rent within one year (for the leases with a period of less than one year: within the lease period), the lessor may terminate the lease agreement through litigation. The lessor should give the lessee the two written notices for the due and payable rent receivables pertaining to different months. Following the notices, the lessor may apply to and file an eviction action before the Civil Court of Peace situated at the location of the real estate. The eviction action must be filed within one month as from the end of the lease period that the two justifiable notices have been sent. The one-month term is a prescription period.
On the other hand, by virtue of the article 315 contained in the TOC, the lessor may terminate the lease agreement due to the lessee’s default. In case the lessee does not pay the due and payable rent or secondary expense, the lessor may grant a period of time to the lessee in writing, notifying that the lessee should pay his debt within this period of time and that the lessor will, otherwise, terminate the agreement. In roofed workplace leases, it is mandatory that such period of time which will be granted to the lessee by the lessor is minimum 30 days; and this period of time starts to run as from the day following the date that the written notice has been given to the lessee.
Lastly, another method is to initiate enforcement proceedings with the request for eviction, without filing the action. It is absolutely necessary that the request for eviction is specified in the payment order. In practice, such enforcement proceedings with the request for eviction are preferred mostly, since this method is fast and practical. When the enforcement proceedings with the request for eviction are initiated, the lessee should submit his objection to the enforcement proceedings within 7 days as from the date that the payment order is served on the lessee. If the lessee does not submit his objection within 7 days and if the lessee does not pay his debt within 30 days, the lessee shall be evicted from the real estate. However, the lessee shall not be evicted from the real estate if he pays his debt, including all the expenses for the enforcement proceedings, within the 30 days’ term.
Nonetheless, in order to prevent the economy from suffering a loss due to the current extraordinary situation, the conditions for eviction are modified temporarily for the offices/workplaces that are unable to pay their rent debts. Namely:
B. RELEVANT LEGAL ARRANGEMENTS MADE DUE TO THE CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK
Many legal arrangements were made due to the corona virus outbreak. For office/workplace rents, a determinant legal arrangement has come to the fore. Pursuant to the temporary article 2 of the Law numbered 7226 on “Making Amendments to Certain Laws” as adopted on 25.03.2020 :
“Failure to pay a workplace rent, which will accrue as from 1/3/2020 until 30/6/2020, shall not constitute a ground for termination of the lease agreement and for eviction.”
As mentioned above, in case of a delay in the payment of the rent for an office/workplace lease, termination of the agreement and eviction are prohibited until 30.06.2020. However, this legal arrangement does not constitute an obstacle against collection of such rent receivable through enforcement proceedings; only the way is paved for the workplace to be able to continue operating.
As regards the collection through enforcement proceedings, by virtue of the temporary article 1 contained in the Law numbered 7266 on “Making Amendments to Certain Laws”, the terms prescribed by the Enforcement and Bankruptcy Code and by the other laws pertaining to the law of enforcement and the terms set by the judges or the enforcement and bankruptcy offices within this context as well as all enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings with the exclusion of the enforcement proceedings for alimony receivables, the party and enforcement transactions, the receipt of requests for new enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings, and the proceedings for enforcement and execution of provisional attachment decisions are hereby suspended as from 22.03.2020 (including that date) until 30.04.2020 (including that date).
Accordingly, in the light of all above-mentioned, in spite of the fact that no eviction shall take place due to nonpayment of office/workplace rents in the interval of 01.03.2020 – 30.06.2020, it is obvious that it is possible to initiate and carry out enforcement proceedings for rent receivables as from 30.04.2020 unless a decree to the contrary enters into force.