On 30 April 2020, the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation approved the Review of Certain Issues of Judicial Practice Related to the Application of Legislation and Measures to Counteract the Proliferation of New Coronavirus Infection (COVID-19) No. 2. in order to ensure uniform application of the law.
In the four sections of the Review, the Supreme Court provides answers to general questions on the application of legislation, as well as to separate questions on civil, criminal, criminal procedural, and bankruptcy law.
In particular, the Supreme Court explained that deferral of payment of rent is granted to tenants from the date of introduction of the regime of increased readiness or emergency situation on the territory of a subject of the Russian Federation irrespective of the date of conclusion of an additional agreement to the lease agreement or the date of coming into force of the court decision.
The fact of the lessee’s inclusion in the list of companies operating in the industries most severely affected by coronavirus infection (COVID-19) is sufficient to provide deferred payment of rent. Fulfillment of any additional conditions by the tenant are not required. In particular, the lessee is not obliged to prove the impossibility of using the rented premises for its intended purpose. However, if the landlord proves that the tenant has acted in bad faith and that in reality he has not suffered or will not suffer from the spread of a new coronavirus infection, the court has the right to refuse to grant the tenant such a deferred payment of rent.
The Supreme Court stated in the Review that the tenant’s right to a reduction in rent due to the inability to use the rented premises due to the spread of coronavirus infection arises from the moment the inability to use the premises occurs. If the landlord unreasonably evades signing an additional agreement to reduce the rent, the court has the right to reduce the rent, taking into account the amount by which the rent is usually reduced in the current situation. Provisions on postponement and reduction of rent shall also apply to contracts for the lease of a part of the immovable thing.
With respect to the moratorium on bankruptcy, the Review states that after the moratorium expires, the creditor, prior to applying to court for bankruptcy, must re-send a notice of intent to file a bankruptcy claim for publication in the Unified Federal Register of information on the facts of the activities of legal entities. In addition, the Supreme Court explained that during the period of the moratorium, the creditor is not entitled to obtain enforcement through submission of an enforcement document to a bank.