As new cases of COVID-19 declines, each County in the San Francisco Bay Area is reopening gradually in accordance with the California’s colored tier system. The patchwork of local rules and orders is difficult to follow. Our Bay Area Reopening Tracker is here to help. We have included each of the nine Bay Area counties, and their respective current tier, Health Order (and additional relevant orders), and our short comments regarding their status. Please check back in with us—we plan to update the Bay Area Reopening Tracker weekly for the foreseeable future.
One year into the pandemic, courts have almost uniformly found that COVID-19 does not permit commercial tenants to avoid their rent payment obligations. In this case, the court continued that trend, ruling that the pandemic was not a “casualty” that permits a tenant to abate its rent payments or cancel its lease. Authors Patrick J. Potter, Christian A. Buerger, Hugh M. McDonald, Patrick E. Fitzmaurice, and Jonathan Doolittle discuss a new case from the Southern District of New York that extends the trend of courts enforcing leases against tenants forced to close due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in “Court Finds Pandemic Does Not Satisfy Lease’s Casualty Clause.”
A federal judge in Texas has declared the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium unconstitutional, holding that Article I’s power to regulate interstate commerce and enact laws necessary and proper for such regulation does not include the power to suspend residential evictions on a nationwide basis. While the court stopped short of issuing immediate injunctive relief, instead relying on the CDC to “respect the declaratory judgment” and withdraw the Order, the court stated that such relief would be available if the government does not comply with the decision. With this ruling, the most significant prohibition on residential evictions for nonpayment of rent is likely to be lifted, and many residential evictions halted or delayed under the Order may begin in earnest. While additional tenant protections remain in certain locales, this federal ruling increases the likely rate and pace of residential eviction activity across the country.
Months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a nationwide eviction moratorium using its emergency pandemic powers under the Public Health Service Act, the efficacy of this unprecedented measure remains unclear. While the Order ostensibly protects tenants facing homelessness or housing insecurity due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic through the end of 2020, legal challenges have been initiated in Ohio and Georgia, with additional lawsuits appearing likely. Further, even barring legal challenges, courts have not handled these cases in a uniform manner. With lawmakers unable to reach any stimulus or COVID-19 relief agreement before the election, the CDC Order appears likely to remain the only federal eviction moratorium through its expiration on December 31, 2020.
2020 has been an unprecedented year, and, while there are likely more twists and turns to come before December 31, it is essential to look at how the real estate markets have changed this year and which trends are likely to continue into 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every industry, including commercial real estate, and its impact will continue to influence the market and commercial real estate long after the virus has been eradicated.
In episode 18 of Industry Insights podcast, host Joel Simon and Elina Teplinsky discuss the financial community’s response to the energy transition including the focus on novel technologies such as clean hydrogen, advanced nuclear reactors and carbon capture and storage.
Joel Simon: With climate change and sustainability dominating the environmental landscape, there has been a lot of press in the last year or two about the energy transition. What exactly is the energy transition, and why is it so important? Continue Reading ›
Joel Simon: Christian, you have a really great practice with an emphasis on two industries, one of which seems relatively insulated by the unusual circumstances we’re facing today and the other which has been rocked pretty hard. It’s the second one I’d like to focus on today. Can you start us off with a brief discussion of the status of the hotel business and what a recovery might look like for that sector?
The past few months saw, and continue to see, significant disruptions to the real estate market and the real estate finance market in particular. According to Trepp LLC, June saw the delinquency rate for commercial mortgage-backed security (CMBS) loans hit 10.32 percent, which is just shy of the peak delinquency rate for CMBS loans in 2012 (or a full four years following the 2007 – 2008 recession). That we could have nearly reached the 2012 peak so quickly—given the last time lag between a recession and peak delinquencies—has caused some investors to worry that much worse is yet to come. These numbers also cause certain investors to question whether CMBS disclosures may have been overly optimistic or failed to properly disclose risks. At the same time, regulated mortgage lenders, which must project losses, are assuming losses at approximately two percent on average.
A recent court decision in New York found that current market conditions in the real estate market justify delaying noticing mezzanine real estate foreclosures until October 15, 2020. In “Distressed Real Estate During COVID-19: Court Finds UCC Foreclosure “Commercially Unreasonable” Because of Coronavirus-Related Market Turmoil“, colleagues Caroline A. Harcourt, Patrick E. Fitzmaurice and Russell DaSilva discuss a recent New York Supreme Court Order.