No obligation to use a rental property as a supermarket

The Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal has made a decision on whether the tenant of a building was obliged to operate a supermarket formula, or whether other retail practices should also be allowed in the building. See Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal on 25 May 2023, ECLI:NL:GHARL:2023:4348.

Marqt had entered into a lease with regard to a building with the aim of operating a supermarket there according to the Marqt formula. Marqt is then taken over by Udea. Udea operates a supermarket opposite the building according to the Ekoplaza formula. For that reason, Marqt no longer wants to operate a Marqt supermarket in the rented property. Marqt then leases the space to a third party, who operates a furniture store there. The property owner demanded that Marqt still operate a supermarket according to the Marqt formula.

The rental agreement stipulates that the rented property is intended to be used for retail. It is also stipulated that the lessor guarantees that Marqt can use the leased property for a shop in accordance with the Marqt formula. The Court of Appeal ruled that by using the word ‘retail trade’, the parties intended to agree on a broader purpose for use than just that for a ‘shop in accordance with the Marqt formula’ or a ‘supermarket’.

The lessor pointed out that it had been agreed that it would pay an investment contribution to Marqt, which it also did, so that Marqt could make the rented property suitable for the establishment of a Marqt supermarket. With this investment contribution, the building has been adapted on behalf of Marqt into a more open, multifunctional retail space, suitable for all kinds of retail, including a supermarket. According to the court, it cannot be concluded from this that it had been agreed that the use of the building would be limited to the operation of a Marqt supermarket only.

The landlord’s claim to use the rented property as a supermarket was rejected by the court.

This judgment once again shows the importance of the formulation of the agreements made in writing.

mr. A.W. Dolphijn
Ludwig & Van Dam lawyers, franchise legal advice.
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