On Monday, 16 March 2020, President Macron announced the deferral of payments of rent and water, gas and electricity bills for very small businesses experiencing financial difficulties. The ordinance of 25 March 2020 defines the terms of this measure.
categories of beneficiaries are eligible:
- Businesses and self-employed individuals satisfying the solidarity fund eligibility conditions (see the following point);
- Businesses continuing to operate through insolvency, court-ordered reorganisation or liquidation proceedings, following receipt of a certificate from one of the receivers appointed by the court that initiated the proceedings.
How to defer payment
Businesses encountering difficulties paying their water, gas and electricity bills can immediately e-mail or telephone their water, gas and electricity suppliers to request an amicable deferral of payment. Businesses confirm that they satisfy the eligibility conditions when they make the deferral request.
The deferred payments will be spread evenly across the payment due dates for bills issued after the last day of the month following the date of the end of the state of health emergency. Payments will be spread over a minimum period of six months.
Suppliers may not suspend, discontinue or reduce the supply of electricity, gas or water, including by termination of contract.
With respect to retail outlets in shopping centres, the National Council of Shopping Centres (CNCC) has already asked its landlord members to make rent and service charges invoiced for the second quarter payable monthly and to temporarily suspend payment due on rent and service charges for the month of April.
In the case of businesses with landlords who are private individuals, such as pensioners, a call for national solidarity will be made to negotiate amicable arrangements in the event of rent payment difficulties.