Governor DeWine Issues Order Requesting Suspension of Commercial Rent Payments and Foreclosures

On April 1, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine issued an Executive Order (linked here) designed to provide relief to small businesses from rental payments, commercial evictions and foreclosures in Ohio. In the Order, Gov. DeWine invoked his police powers under the Ohio Constitution to “request” the following relief due to the COVID-19 epidemic:
  • That landlords of small business commercial tenants suspend rent payments for 90 days for tenants affected by COVID-19;
  • That landlords of small business commercial tenants forbear evictions for 90 days for tenants affected by COVID-19; and
  • That lenders to commercial real estate owners forbear mortgage payments for 90 days for borrowers affected by COVID-19.
The Governor’s “request” for forbearance includes: asking landlords/lenders not to enforce any right to eviction, foreclosure, appointment of a receiver, impounding any funds, terminating any borrower’s license to use cash, sweeping cash or demanding that the tenant/borrower waive any rights or admit default as a result of COVID-19.  The Order does not forgive rent or mortgage payments, but rather only provides for 90 days of forbearance.
Given that the Order is a “request” rather than an order, it is not immediately clear what will happen to landlords or lenders who refuse to comply with these requests.  The Governor’s approach throughout the recent crisis, however, has been to first request Ohioans to refrain from certain conduct and then – in the absence of full compliance – issue a firm order prohibiting the conduct.
Frantz Ward’s Coronavirus Response Team to assist clients in navigating the multitude of issues presented by the current crisis. For assistance in addressing these issues or in developing other strategies to protect your business, please contact Frantz Ward Partners Brian Kelly or Christopher Koehler and they will engage the appropriate members of the response team. In addition, please visit the Frantz Ward Coronavirus Daily Update/Resource Center for up-to-date information and links.

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