Act Of God In Lease Agreement
Therefore, the language of the clause determines whether a party is exempted from fulfilling its obligations. If the contract specifically contains a force majeure clause, the tenant, if he wishes to apologize for the performance of his liability, must not only declare that the case of force majeure was beyond his control, but also prove that the event himself is at the origin of which the tenant did not assume his responsibilities. The most common term describing a force majeure event in commercial leases is the term “force majeure”. Black`s Law Dictionary defines an act of God as “an overwhelming and inevitable event caused exclusively by forces of nature such as earthquakes, floods, or tornadoes.”  In most jurisdictions, force majeure is interpreted as a natural disaster; However, some courts have broadened the term to “include all natural phenomena that are exceptional, inevitable and irresistible and whose effects could not be avoided or avoided by the application of due diligence or foresight”.  Since the interpretation of the text is different from a legal order, most commercial leases extend the definition of a force majeure event to war, terrorist acts, state rules, disasters, strikes and civil unrest. Some, but certainly not all, also deal with emergencies, epidemics and/or pandemics in the field of public health. Whether or not COVID-19 is considered a force majeure event is a factual finding based largely on the wording of the force majeure clause in the lease agreement and the specific examples used to describe a force majeure event. Under the principle of ejusdem generis, which is “a canon of construction that”[o]rdinarily. limits general terms that follow specific terms to questions similar to those indicated.  A force majeure provision containing the terms “epidemic”, “pandemic” or “disease” would be interpreted as including COVID-19 rather than a provision that does not contain these related terms. The coronavirus question that the AGG retail team most often receives today is whether force majeure clauses (“force majeure”) or “force majeure” justify suspending the performance of their obligations arising from their lease agreements (mainly the operation and payment of rent). The answer depends on the specific language of the contract, local law and the causal link between the pandemic and the tenant`s inability to honor his rental commitments.
Commercial landlords and tenants need to understand the application of these rarely invoked clauses. Force majeure in the literal sense is a “superior” or “irresistible” force or power.  A force majeure clause in a lease agreement is a contractual provision negotiated by the lessor and the lessee, which defines the obligations of the parties after the occurrence of an uncontrolled event that makes the performance of an obligation excusable by the performing party. . . .