Steve Darne, who co-founded 1com group with Jean-Claude Colbach, says that independents, merchants and other tenants are suffering as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis. “We finance the state with our work and commitment. We take risks to live our passion and cannot survive without the support of the government,” he says in an introduction to gather signatories of a petition he has launched.
1com group owns several popular restaurants and bars including the Brauerei Big Beer Company, Ikki and Le Sud in Rives de Clausen, and employs 223 people. Darne’s petition, number 1581 on the Chamber of Deputies docket, calls for legislation to allow for commercial rents to be adjusted according to perceived turnover in exceptional circumstances (it cites war, epidemics, major works and natural disaster as examples). He also wants lessors to have the possibility to obtain compensation from the state for the lost rent.
In his petition, Darne says the current crisis has illustrated a legal void in the contractual relationship between lessor and tenants operating a business, and that many businesses risk bankruptcy as they remain obliged to pay rent even when they are unable “to exploit totally, or at least partially, the activity which generates cash inflows that are supposed to cover in particular the payment of the monthly rent.”
He also argues that many retailers and owners of bars, restaurants and cafés have experienced similar problems with regards the tram works, particularly in the Gare neighbourhood and surroundings.
“In order to avoid an inevitable unemployment explosion, or even, in the future, a new disaster scenario likely to paralyse thousands of jobs, it is imperative that a legal solution come into force as soon as possible,” the petition concludes.
The petition opened for signatures on 8 May and closes on 18 June. It can be consulted, and signed, here