April 7, 2020
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Executive Order 2020-08D on April 1, 2020, which addresses commercial evictions and foreclosures in Ohio during the COVID-19 crisis. The purpose of the Order is to provide relief to small business tenants and commercial real estate borrowers who may be feeling the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fact that this is an Executive Order is a bit misleading. The Order contains requests rather than demands. Governor DeWine wishes to combat the potential destabilizing impact commercial evictions and foreclosures could have on local economies during Ohio’s Stay at Home Order. Executive Order 2020-08D applies to commercial tenants and borrowers who face “financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic” and contains the following requests:
- Landlords are requested to suspend rent payments for small business commercial tenants in the State of Ohio who are facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic for at least ninety (90) consecutive days.
- Landlords are requested to provide for a moratorium of evictions of small business commercial tenants for a term of at least ninety (90) consecutive days.
- Lenders are requested to provide commercial real estate borrowers, who have a commercial mortgage loan for a property in Ohio, an opportunity for a forbearance term of at least ninety (90) consecutive days for said mortgage as a result of financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Order explicitly states that it shall not do any of the following:
- Negate the obligation of a small business commercial tenant to pay rent.
- Relieve a commercial real estate borrower of its obligations to make loan payment.
- Suspend any state or federal law.
Because the actions contained in the Order are requests rather than demands, there are no penalty provisions for failure to abide by the Order. The Order remains in effect through July 1, 2020, unless modified or rescinded by Governor DeWine prior to that date.
Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted have continually stated during their daily press briefings that the intent of Executive Order 2020-08D is to encourage lenders to work with borrowers and in turn, landlords work with tenants, to reach equitable payment options and temporary solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Any tenant or borrower who is currently facing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic should request assistance from their landlord or lender.
Governor DeWine previously signed House Bill 197 (HB 197), which tolls numerous temporal deadlines set to expire between March 9, 2020 and July 30, 2020. The tolling order may allow landlords and lenders to delay action that otherwise would have been required during this time by the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure.