Victoria’s Secret is suing the landlord of its Midtown Manhattan, New York store for attempting to collect over $1.08 million in rent after the COVID-19 shutdown, claiming that:
- the lease is unenforceable due to the government-mandated closing of its store;
- the total standstill of business, commerce and everyday life in New York City has completely and unforeseeably frustrated the purpose of the lease and has rendered performance impossible;
- it is entitled to an abatement of rent and a rescission of the lease due to its inability to operate as a retail business; and
- the lease itself provides for an abatement of minimum rent and additional rent, if it remains closed for at least six consecutive days.
The store closed on March 17, 2020 in compliance with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order aimed to fight Covid-19. Victoria’s Secret argued that the lease requires it to operate a retail business, and clearly states that if it were unable to do so, the lease’s purpose would be “frustrated.” The causes of action also include unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and rescission based on impossibility of performance.
Victoria’s Secret is seeking reimbursement for the pro-rated rents, pre-paid real estate taxes, and other expenses paid while deprived of its use of the store as originally contemplated in the lease.
Contact Robert Friedman, Attorney at (716) 542-5444 if you have any questions about your residential or commercial leases and evictions.