In the wake of COVID-19, default rates for commercial real estate loans, including those supported by personal guaranties, will likely accelerate. Inevitably, borrowers will consider seeking bankruptcy protection to implement a restructuring of debt or a sale of real property collateral, and lenders should not assume that personal guaranties will prevent borrower bankruptcies. In “Personal Guaranties May Not Deter Property Owner Bankruptcies,” colleagues Patrick J. Potter, Joshua D. Morse, Deborah B. Baum and Dania Slim discuss that lenders should plan for real estate owner bankruptcies despite having a non-recourse carveout guaranty triggered by the owner’s bankruptcy filing.
The recent Spanish Peaks decision from the Ninth Circuit (covering Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) deepens the split in case law on the ability to strip off leases in a landlord/borrower bankruptcy. This decision, which joins the Qualitech decision from the Seventh Circuit (covering Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin), may significantly impact and complicate sales in bankruptcy of real property for lenders and non-debtor tenants alike.