Commercial tenants who are unable to pay their rent as a result of COVID-19 shutdown and capacity-limit orders have, thus far, found little relief from courts, who have by and large rejected their common law defenses seeking a discharge of lease obligations. One recent Massachusetts case, however, sides with a commercial tenant, albeit under narrow circumstances, approving of the often-unsuccessful “frustration of purpose” defense.
Continue Reading Massachusetts Court: COVID-19 Closure Order Partially Discharges Commercial Rent Obligation Under “Frustration of Purpose” Doctrine

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on retail businesses throughout the country, the phenomenon of curbside pickup has spread from coast to coast.  With some evidence suggesting that retail customers may continue to prefer curbside pickup over traditional in-store pickup for the foreseeable future, retail businesses and their landlords should consider the potential lease implications of initiating or expanding curbside pickup programs. 
Continue Reading Lease Implications of Curbside Pickup

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a large shift toward online retail transactions. In April of 2020, nonstore sales, mostly conducted through e-commerce, increased by nearly 30 percent while overall retail sales in the US are down 16 percent year over year, according to the Department of Commerce.
Continue Reading COVID-19 and E-Commerce are Changing Retailers’ Real Estate Footprints

In light of the various restrictions on retail businesses being issued nationwide to fight the spread of COVID-19—such as the “safer at home” orders issued in Los Angeles County and throughout the entire State of California last week—one Southern California city is taking action to support local businesses, while continuing to push compliance with the new legal restrictions.
Continue Reading Supporting Local Retail in a Time of Local Restrictions

Innovation and developments in technology bring both opportunities and challenges for retailers, and Hunton Andrews Kurth has a sophisticated understanding of these issues and how they affect retailers. On January 23, 2020, our cross-disciplinary retail team, composed of over 200 lawyers, released our annual Retail Industry Year in Review.
Continue Reading 2019 Retail Industry Year in Review

As marijuana sales become increasingly legal in many states across the US, a growing number of commercial property owners will be faced with the decision of whether to lease their space to a marijuana-related business. There are many factors that potential landlords and tenants must keep in mind, not the least of which is federal law.
Continue Reading High-Level Leasing Considerations for Marijuana-Related Businesses

The rise of e-commerce and the struggle many brick-and-mortar retail stores face is nothing new. Customers are increasingly choosing to shop for clothes, furniture and even groceries from the convenience of their own homes. More recently, however, this shift in the way consumers shop has given rise to new types of retail stores – small showrooms and “pop-up shops.”
Continue Reading From Digital to Physical: New Considerations for Retail Leasing with the Rise of E-Commerce into Physical Spaces