OFP COVID-19 Resource Center – Commercial Leases

The latest from OFP attorneys regarding the impact of COVID-19 on commercial lease agreements.

Commercial Leases and COVID-19:
Force Majeure, Frustration of Purpose, and Impossibility under the Laws of Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia

As landlords and tenants in the DC Metro region navigate the COVID-19 climate and an unprecedented dip in the economy, provisions within commercial leases related to excusing nonperformance are being tested, and in some cases, for the first time.  Force majeure clauses are front and center in the debate over excuses for nonperformance, opportunities for termination, and the allocation of liability.  However, the common law doctrines of frustration of purpose and impossibility may also be applicable.  This set of articles explores the defenses that may be available to commercial tenants in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia during the coronavirus pandemic, keeping in mind that in these unprecedented times, case law on the impact of the crisis is developing.

To learn more about Virginia, CLICK HERE.
To learn more about Maryland, CLICK HERE.
To learn more about the District of Columbia, CLICK HERE.

OFP COVID-19 Resource Center Updates

Here are the latest legal articles relating to the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and businesses.

SBA and Treasury Release PPP Loan Forgiveness Application

As has been much discussed, loan forgiveness is a key feature of the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), but there has been little guidance regarding the process and criteria for seeking forgiveness. Late Friday, May 15, 2020, the SBA and Department of Treasury released the PPP loan forgiveness application and related instructions, providing some clarity. Additionally, the Treasury Department indicated in an associated press release that the SBA will issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers in the completion of their applications for forgiveness, and provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities. Learn more from OFP Shareholder Michelle DiCintio.

SBA Again Updates Safe Harbor Guidance for PPP Loans

On May 13, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) again updated its guidance regarding the safe harbor provision for loans disbursed under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the lifeline extended to small businesses under the financial relief package known as the CARES Act. Learn more from OFP Shareholder Michelle DiCintio.

OFP’s COVID-19 Commercial Leasing Playbook

Although Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC are not fully ready to begin easing COVID-19 restrictions, business leaders are preparing now.  What can landlords and tenants do today to survive a challenging second quarter, prepare for reopening, and emerge strong for the rest of 2020?

Practical Advice for Landlords
In Part I of OFP’s COVID-19 Commercial Leasing Playbook, we focus on steps that landlords should be considering as they work together with all stakeholders to document a realistic short-term plan and remain flexible in the coming months.
Click here to learn more from OFP Shareholders Jennifer Banks and Leslye Fenton.

Practical Advice for Tenants
In Part II of OFP’s COVID-19 Commercial Leasing Playbook, we focus on steps that tenants should be considering as they work together with all stakeholders to document a realistic short-term plan and remain flexible in the coming months.
Click here to learn more from OFP Shareholders Jennifer Banks and Leslye Fenton.

Practical Advice for DC Retail Tenants
In Part III of OFP’s COVID-19 Commercial Leasing Playbook, we focus on steps that retails tenants in Washington, DC, should be considering as they work together with all stakeholders to document a realistic short-term plan and remain flexible in the coming months.
Click here to learn more from OFP Shareholders Jennifer Banks and Leslye Fenton.

Sweeping Changes to Virginia’s Employment Laws on the Horizon

On July 1, 2020, the Virginia Values Act (VVA) will become effective as law and introduce new legal protections designed to make the Commonwealth a more accepting workplace for all members of society.  In doing so, the VVA is expected to produce a sweeping overhaul of employment discrimination litigation in Virginia by prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and veteran status.  These changes, unprecedented thus far in southern states, will significantly impact employers while providing additional protections and remedies to employees.
Learn more from OFP Attorney Cameron Green.

OFP COVID-19 Resource Center

Below please find the latest articles from Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C. relating to recent legal updates impacting individuals and businesses as a result of COVID-19.

US DEPARTMENT OF LABOR – PAID SICK LEAVE PROVISIONS

The US Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a notice that covered employers are required to share regarding the recently passed paid sick leave provisions. At present, the DOL is soliciting questions from employers and employees as the agency prepares to draft enabling regulations to address how to implement these paid-leave provisions.  As shown by this solicitation for comments and questions, there are many open questions about how an employer is to respond to requests for coverage. Learn more here.

SBA ANNOUNCES DISASTER ASSISTANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The Small Business Administration has relaxed requirements for small businesses whose operations have been disrupted by COVID-19. SBA Disaster Relief loans may be used to “…pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.”  Read more here.

COVID-19 BUSINESS CHECKLIST

COVID-19 is creating unprecedented business disruptions around the globe, and it is important to take this situation seriously. Acting with urgency is crucial, but having a plan of attack will mitigate confusion down the road. Click here to learn more.

NEW OMB GUIDANCE ENCOURAGING FOR GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS

In an attempt to mitigate the unfolding COVID-19 public health emergency, state and local governments have started issuing “lockdown” or “stay-at-home” orders. Generally, the state lockdown orders have directed that all businesses utilize telecommuting or work-from-home procedures to the maximum extent practicable. Where telework is impractical, some states are only permitting essential businesses to remain open. Companies with operations in these jurisdictions must understand the scope of applicable restrictions and whether their operations are essential and should continue during the lockdown.  Learn more from attorney Michelle DiCintio.

IS YOUR WORK OR BUSINESS CONSIDERED “ESSENTIAL”?

OFP Shareholder Shiva Hamidinia provides a run-down to help businesses determine whether they are deemed essential as the country works to maintain social distancing protocols to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Click here to learn more.

COVID-19 – CREDIT FACILITIES AND ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY

As COVID-19 continues to stir economic uncertainty, businesses are concerned about possible defaults under their credit facilities and some businesses may want to consider how they are using credit vehicles to support ongoing operations. Click here to learn more.

OFP COVID-19 ALERT

IRS Extends Tax Filing & Payment Deadline

Businesses and individuals now will have until July 15th to file and pay their Federal income taxes. This means that you have an additional three months to plan and prepare your returns without having incurring penalties on up to $1 million in tax owed. Businesses will have the same period to pay amounts due on up to $10 million in tax owed. Learn more from attorney Catherine Schott Murray.

Update for Employers – Families First Coronavirus Response Act Now Law

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law and will become effective not later than 15 days later, April 2, 2020.  There are some differences between what was ultimately passed and what was summarized in our early article from March 16, 2020. Learn more from attorney Marina Blickley.

COVID-19 & Federal Contract Suspensions

Construction and many other contractors who cannot telework may be receiving stop-work orders or facing other unique challenges on their government contracts in the face of COVID-19.  Impacts may be exacerbated for personnel working in the field who may not be receiving guidance from the government due to unavailability of their Contracting Officers (CO) or Contracting Officer Representatives (COR). Learn more from attorney Shiva Hamidinia.

COVID-19 & Gaining Control Over Your Business Finances

As the coronavirus shifts the way the world works, businesses should take this break in normal operating procedure to re-evaluate their finances. Learn more from attorney Brad Jones.