COVID-19 cannot be considered as force majeure for the non-payment of rent

The current situation as a result of COVID-19 leads to a situation where many landlords are confronted with the question from their tenant(s) if this situation can be qualified as force majeure and the tenant can therefore be exempted from paying the rent. 

We would like to point out that without the landlord’s agreement, the tenant cannot unilaterally decide not to pay the rent. Not being able to pay, even if this is the result of a force majeure situation, does not release the tenant from his obligation to pay the rent. This principle has been confirmed by Cassation in a judgement dated June 28, 2018. 

Although tenants cannot invoke force majeure for non-compliance with their payment obligations, they can always request the landlord for a postponement of payment. It is therefore advisable to reach a temporary solution by mutual agreement if tenants have payment difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.