Safety net in place for business landlord and tenants

The NSW Government has said it will increase its existing support for residential and commercial tenants and landlords in response to the current lockdown through a new series of packages aimed at ensuring financial stability.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, said the Residential Tenancy Support Package consists of $3,000 rent reductions plus a 60-day freeze on evictions.

“Residential landlords were previously offered a $1,500 payment per residential tenancy in return for providing a $1,500 rent reduction, but this has now been increased to $3,000,” Crouch said.

“Tenants and landlords are encouraged to access this financial support which is available now through the NSW Fair Trading website or contact me directly for assistance.

“I personally want to ensure that no one slips through the cracks during this incredibly difficult time.”

Crouch said local business owners and their retail or commercial landlords could also receive support from the NSW Government.

“We have taken the significant step of re-introducing National Cabinet’s Mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Leasing, which mandates a minimum level of rent relief that retail or commercial landlords must provide to their tenants,” he said.

“This will cover a six-month period and is specifically targeted at the hardest hit businesses including cafes, restaurants, hair salons and gyms.

“For the first time, small retail or commercial landlords who waive rent for their tenants can also receive a monthly grant of up to $3,000 through a new $40 million Hardship Fund.”

The fund provides the grant for small commercial or retail landlords who provide rental waivers of at least the value of the grant and any land tax relief they are eligible for.

Principal of Ray White Umina Beach, John Ienna, said the support has been welcomed with many tenants appearing to cope with the measures, but still gaps exist.

“I have one commercial landlord who does not pay land tax who has COVID-effected tenants,” Ienna said.

“She has waived rent but can’t get any assistance back from the government.

“She has slipped through the net.”

The NSW Government also said the extension until January 13, 2022 of the Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2021 will require landlords to renegotiate rent having regard to National Cabinet’s Code of Conduct.

The Code of Conduct requires landlords to provide rent relief in proportion with their tenant’s decline in turnover.

Of the rent relief provided, at least 50 per cent must be in the form a waiver, and the balance a deferral.

The regulation applies to commercial and retail tenants with a turnover of up to $50 million who qualify for the COVID-19 Microbusiness grant, COVID-19 Business Grant or JobSaver Payment.

It will prohibit a landlord from evicting or locking out a tenant for certain breaches of the lease unless they have first renegotiated rent and attempted mediation.

More information about the range of measures introduced to support small businesses and landlords can be found on the Service NSW website.

Maisy Rae