Tenants fighting on courts to break leasing contracts

The first move by shop owners was for discounting the rent and changing the correction index - from the IGP-M to the IPCA. Those who could not keep the business open, with the pandemic and the uncertainties in the economic scenario, are trying to escape the fine for breach of the lease contract in court.

The crisis affects mainly small stores, which suffered a 70% drop in sales in 2020, compared to the previous year. Most businessmen say Nabil Sahyoun, president of the Brazilian Association of Shopping Store Owners (Alshop), manages to negotiate. "[The storekeepers] are making deals with the malls. They know the movement will return to normal," he says.

This year, according to Aldo Macri, director of Sindilojas-SP, it is easier to negotiate rents. "There has been an improvement and awareness of everyone", he says, noting that the organization filed three actions to try to lower shopkeepers' costs. "Being closed for more than 170 days, as it happened, affects sales.

But negotiations do not always resolve, and the path ends up being judicialization. Recently, the 31st Chamber of Private Law of the Court of Justice of São Paulo (TJ-SP) confirmed the reduction of the rent of a restaurant by 50% (case nº 10182 60-76.2020.8.26.0562) for three months, from April to June 2020.