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Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro Participates in Chamber Updates regarding Covid-19Covid-19
Posted in on May 15, 2020
Incoming Braintree Chamber chair Kimberly Kroha, Esq. of Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. led a zoom video call meeting on COVID-19 update with Mayor Kokoros, State Senator John Keenan and members of the real estate community on May 11 and its impact on real estate in South Shore. Below are some of the highlights.
Coronavirus update from Town Hall
The mayor reported that 78 Braintree residents have died of Covid-19 to date, and 65% of cases are in nursing homes and long-term-care facilities. The number of new cases is declining, although the numbers are “far higher” than could have been anticipated at the start of the crisis.
The mayor expressed his commitment to working closely with business owners to reopen safely after the governor lifts restrictions and issues guidelines.
- Restaurant owners are very concerned about their ability to survive financially if social distancing requirements require them to operate at reduced capacity. The town will investigate using public property for outdoor dining, such as parking lots or French’s Common. Street closures and sidewalk dining are likely unfeasible.
- Hair salons and personal services might be best equipped to reopen because frequent sanitization is already part of their daily business practices.
- The mayor is skeptical that the town’s summer programming, including community events, will be possible due to safety concerns with large gatherings. “If we don’t maintain reduced numbers of folks in public places,” the mayor said, “we’re going to end up with a spike and it will put us in a bad situation come Fall when we need to have school go back in session.”
- Braintree Golf has reopened with distancing rules in place.
- The town is working to procure face masks and hand sanitizers for local businesses.
- The mayor encouraged the state legislature to consider ways to direct insurance companies to pay out business stoppage claims.
“We want everyone to get back to work, but we also don’t want everyone to get exposed,” the mayor said. Given that Braintree’s numbers are higher than the state average, the town likely will require stricter measures than those ordered by the state, he added.
What landlords and tenants are saying
- The state moratorium on evictions and foreclosures applies to residence and “small business premises units,” defined as for-profit or nonprofit organizations with fewer than 150 employees that operate in Massachusetts only. Fewer protections are in place for renters who defaulted prior to March 10.
- The law allows landlords to use last-month rent in lieu of missed payments, if they follow the procedures for notification.
- Her firm’s commercial landlords are getting 25% to 50% of May rents.
- A good strategy is to practice open communication regarding inability to pay. This applies to landlords and their mortgage lenders, and to tenants and their landlords. Lenders strongly encourage landlords to contact them to negotiate a deferred payment plan rather than skip payment without notice. Landlords also are advised to be certain that any communications they send to tenants regarding missed rent payment contains notification of Covid-specific rights.
- Looking ahead, many clients are tweaking force majeure  clauses in leases and reconsidering their space needs in anticipation of extended social distancing.