Real estate law
The renewal of commercial leases is regulated by the Act of 30 April 1951 (hereinafter "the Act").
Although Article 13 of the Act gives the lessee the right to request, by preference, the renewal of his lease for the continuation of his business, the formalities that the parties must respect in this context are particularly strict and it is advisable to be extremely careful.
The tenant wishing to exercise his right to renewal must, on pain of forfeiture, notify the landlord by bailiff's writ or by registered letter no more than eighteen months and no less than fifteen months before the expiry of the current lease. This notification must also contain a series of details specified by the Law, in particular the conditions under which he wishes to renew his lease.
It should be noted that the entire eighteen-month period is before the end of the current lease and must be counted in whole days. Therefore, it is important to note that the day of the end of the lease is not taken into account for the calculation of the eighteen months before the end of the lease. In concrete terms and by way of example, for an end of lease in 2024, the lessee will have to submit his application within the following deadlines:
|Expiry date of the lease :||Renewal application period :|
|31.01.2024||From 31.07.2022 to 30.10.2022|
|29.02.2024||From 31.08.2022 to 29.11.2022|
|31.03.2024||From 30.09.2022 to 30.12.2022|
|30.04.2024||From 31.10.2022 to 30.01.2023|
|31.05.2024||From 30.11.2022 to 27.02.2023|
|30.06.2024||From 31.12.2022 to 30.03.2023|
|31.07.2024||From 31.01.2023 to 29.04.2023|
|31.08.2024||From 28.02.2023 to 30.05.2023|
|30.09.2024||From 31.03.2023 to 29.06.2023|
|31.10.2024||From 30.04.2023 to 30.07.2023|
|30.11.2024||From 31.05.2023 to 30.08.2023|
|31.12.2024||From 30.06.2023 to 29.09.2023|
There is some controversy as to the date to be taken into account for this "notification", especially when the request is made by registered mail. Indeed, while some consider that the notification is made as soon as the renewal application has been delivered to the post office, others consider that it is the date of presentation to the landlord that should be taken into account.
In view of the uncertainties in the case law and the stakes for the tenant, it is always advisable to be cautious and to avoid any risk by giving notice a few days after the first day of the period and at least a few days before the last day of the period.
After receiving this request for renewal, the lessor shall submit a precise and unconditional answer to the lessee by registered mail or by bailiff's writ within three months from the notification of the lessee's request.
The lessor may refuse to grant such a renewal only in the circumstances and under the conditions set out in the Law and, where applicable, subject to the payment to the lessee of eviction damages established in a lump sum by the Law.
These assumptions can be summarised as follows:
It is also important to note that the lessor may accept the renewal request and at the same time request the application of new conditions. In this case, the lessee will have to react to the notification of these new conditions within thirty days, on pain of foreclosure. The lessee must then agree within this period or, in the absence of an outright agreement, refer the matter to the competent justice of the peace within this period of thirty days and in the manner provided for by the Law.
The judge will then rule in equity. At this point, it is important to note that if the judge sets conditions that exceed the lessee's expectations, only the lessee may withdraw his application for renewal; there is therefore a discretionary right to withdraw for the sole benefit of the lessee, which must nevertheless be exercised by the latter within 15 days of the service of the appeal judgment at the latest.
Then, if no appeal has been lodged against the judgement of the court of first instance or if, within fifteen days of service of the judgement of the court of appeal, the lessee has not withdrawn his application for renewal, the lease will be renewed at the price and conditions set by the judge.
As this is a particularly complex and perilous matter, the sole purpose of this article is to provide a succinct and concrete summary of the main stages of the renewal procedure. The CEW & PARTNERS real estate law department is nevertheless at your disposal to answer your questions or to assist you in any related issue.