Berlin (dpa) - The stop of rent payments for shops of large companies has triggered a wave of outrage. Several federal ministers, the German Tenants' Association and the owner association Haus & Grund criticized the procedure sharply.

Well-known retail companies stopped paying rent for their branches in Germany after they had to close due to the spread of the corona virus. These include retail chains like Deichmann and H&M as well as brand manufacturers like Adidas.

Deichmann spoke of a «preventive measure to maintain the company's ability to act economically». Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted has now made it clear that the sporting goods company wants to continue paying rent to private landlords in its stores. «Our landlords are private individuals only in exceptional cases; we have exempted them, they will receive their April rent as usual, »said Rorsted of the« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung »(Monday). Most of their own businesses would be rented by major real estate marketers and insurance funds. For the provisional freeze on rent, they “had shown mostly understanding”.

Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) had previously said: "If financially strong companies simply no longer pay their rents, this is indecent and unacceptable." The Corona Aid Laws provide no basis for this. It continues to apply: «Of course, tenants have to pay their rent. If they actually experience serious payment difficulties as a result of the crisis, they can only be terminated for a limited period. »

Courts could check whether the prerequisites for this exist, Lambrecht added. Tenants are well advised to look for a friendly solution with their landlords if they are actually in payment difficulties, said Lambrecht.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) called it irritating in “Bild am Sonntag” when “big companies simply announce a freeze on rent payments. Now is the time for cooperation. » A good business relationship also includes communicating with each other in difficult times. Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) told the "Handelsblatt": "I think Adidas' behavior is irresponsible and I have no understanding for it."

Lukas Siebenkotten, President of the German Tenants' Association, was also indignant: «This is an impertinence beyond compare. These big companies make excellent money and are now relying on a law that is supposed to protect the little ones, »he told the« Bild ». The President of Haus & Grund, Kai Warnecke, told the newspaper: «The retail chains are deliberately taking the law as an occasion to suspend rental payments. That is absolutely abusive. It undermines payment behavior. »