Photo of Kaveri Varma

Associate in the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. She has advised banks/financial institutions and IT Industry clients for acquisitions/leasing of commercial premises.. She can be reached at kaveri.varma@cyrilshroff.com

COVID-19 - Impact on Real Estate

With a lot of disruption and backlog due to coronavirus, all industries, along with the real estate sector, have taken a massive hit. The year 2019 was not such a progressive year and everyone was counting on 2020 to recover and improve from last year’s lows. However, the real estate sector is in a deep standstill on the back of the global economic crisis, coupled with the COVID-19 situation.

This scenario calls for anyone to take precautions and due to restrictive movement because of the travel ban and the stock market crash, developers for one are not looking to take any chance in blocking their money in launching any new projects. At this point, one of the challenges being faced by them is the impact on contracts/agreements due to COVID-19, which are currently in motion/existence. The question being raised is whether the COVID-19 pandemic calls for a force majeure consideration in the existing contracts. Force majeure clause acts as a protection to parties wherein due to any unforeseen circumstances, either of the parties are unable to fulfil their commitment as per the agreed terms and conditions of the contract. To put it simply, due to any acts of god such as fire, flood, war, etc., parties are unable to perform their part as it is not reasonably within the control.
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Model Tenancy Law - Model Tenancy Act Overview - Landlord Rights in India

The announcement of the Union Budget 2019-2020 (Budget) by the Finance Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, introduced a few changes in the periphery of the real estate sector. On July 10, 2019, the housing ministry put a policy in the public domain for suggestions, which could act as the model act for States and Union Territories to regulate this segment. The Model Tenancy Act, 2019 (Model Act), takes forward what was proposed in the Draft Model Tenancy Act, 2015.

With property prices far beyond the reach of many millennials, renting has the opportunity to become a far more common housing option. The Model Act brings in transparency enabling a two-fold mechanism wherein the landowners will be less vary of a possible threat of repossession and will let-out their homes to yield rent, which will in turn increase the footing for the real estate market. The concept of sharing spaces both living and working viz. a viz. ownership, presently being the market preference, have been covered under the Model Act.  
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