Europe 1 with AFP 3:19 p.m., June 30, 2022

Several traders forced to close during the 2020 confinement claimed a discount on their rents, but the Court of Cassation rejected their appeal on Thursday.

Traders are therefore obliged to pay their unpaid rent during the period when non-essential businesses were closed.

The Court of Cassation on Thursday rejected the appeal of several traders forced to close during the confinement decreed in the spring of 2020 to stem the Covid-19 pandemic, who were claiming a discount on their rents.

In three judgments, the highest court of the judiciary ordered these merchants to pay their unpaid rent during the period when non-essential businesses were closed.

It judges that the ban, except for exceptions, on leaving home decreed to stem the spread of the Covid, "general and temporary measure", is not attributable to the lessors and has not definitively deprived the traders of using their premises.

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Many disputes put on hold before this decision

This decision will have important consequences: in the French courts, many disputes between traders and their lessors had been put on hold pending the Court's case law.

It had selected three files out of the 30 comparables that had been sent to it: those of a chain of low-cost stores, a Bordeaux real estate agency and a tourist residence.

"It's a disappointing decision for the lessees (the tenants, editor's note), who will now consider how to engage the responsibility of the State", reacted to AFP Me Guillaume Hannotin, lawyer for the chain of Action discount stores.

He believes that "economic considerations weighed heavily in this decision which invites the takers to believe that it is because of an editorial accident that they are not entitled to compensation".

“The texts which are referred to” in the decision rendered by the Court of Cassation “are not those under which the stores closed, but texts from March and April 2020 which affected the freedom of movement of natural persons”, estimates- he.

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