“Coronavirus irresponsibility” — Alsu Mukhametdinova for Legal Information Agency
Anti-crisis measures to support the economy have led to a redistribution of risks. In particular, the largest companies were allowed not to pay their debts to partners, rent, utilities and other payments. The features of the application of such privileges were explained by the Supreme Court of Russia.
Back in the spring of last year, lawmakers announced a moratorium on bankruptcy, executive and rental holidays, and provided other benefits to businesses and individuals. At the same time, a special regime was introduced for the return of tourist vouchers, tickets for canceled flights and performances. The losers were private equity investors, property owners and many other conscientious market participants.
Alsu Mukhametdinova, lawyer and advocate of "Prime Advice":
The anti-crisis measures introduced by the legislator and the third coronavirus review of the Supreme Court of Russia are primarily aimed at protecting the interests of the most vulnerable categories of organizations and citizens.
Speaking about the fairness of the measures taken, we can draw attention to the heterogeneity and obvious formality of some of them. For example, travel agencies are required to refund the cost of canceled tours to the disabled, the unemployed, and customers over 65. Even without official statistics, we can assume that the share of tours sold to such customers is extremely small. It turns out that the measure "on paper" is different from the actual circumstances.
Providing rental holidays, of course, is unprofitable for many landlords, who are forced to bear the costs of maintaining the property and the obligation to keep the premises for the tenant. And in the absence of guarantees of maintaining their solvency after the removal of quarantine restrictions, the owner also risks not paying his creditors. It is not surprising that in practice, many tenants managed to obtain a postponement only through the court.
At the same time, the exemption of owners of non-residential premises in apartment buildings from paying penalties for late payment of utilities seems reasonable. In fact, the pandemic was recognized as a force majeure event, which exempts a person from applying sanctions for violating an obligation. At the same time, the owners of commercial real estate in apartment buildings were in a more privileged position than the owners of premises in non-residential buildings (shopping malls, business centers, and so on).
Thus, the effectiveness of anti-crisis measures is controversial, since unilateral support for business is fraught with the formation of a whole chain of debtors. But at the same time, these measures are unlikely to be a serious help, given their content and practice. A fairer solution, I believe, would be to provide targeted assistance to all economic entities that have suffered losses due to the pandemic.