May 2021

Update: Tenant protection extended further

On 25 March 2021, the COVID-19 Recovery Act 2021 (Recovery Act) commenced in New South Wales.

The purpose of the Recovery Act is to remake or extend a number of measures implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of Acts and Regulations have been amended by the Recovery Act including the Retail Leases Act 1994 (Retail Leases Act).

The Retail Leases Act has been amended by inserting new provisions which confirm that:

  • The Retail and Other Commercial Leases COVID-19 Regulation (No 3) 2020 continues to apply, despite the repeal of that regulation, to anything occurring in relation to a lease while the lease was an “impacted lease” as defined in the Regulation.

  • Schedule 5 to the Conveyancing (General) Regulation 2018 continues to apply, despite the repeal of that Schedule, to anything occurring in relation to a lease while the lease was an “impacted lease” as defined in the Schedule.

What does this mean for tenants?

In short, it means that it may not be too late to seek relief from your landlord if your business has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provided that you would otherwise have been eligible under the relevant Regulation / Schedule, retail and commercial tenants will still be eligible for relief for anything that occurred during the prescribed period.

When did the prescribed period end?

The prescribed period differs for commercial and retail tenants. In relation to commercial tenants, the prescribed period ended on 31 December 2020 and for some retail tenants the prescribed period did not end until 28 March 2021.

What should tenants do?

If they have not already done so, tenants should make contact with their landlords if they have been adversely impacted to discuss an appropriate rent relief package that is consistent with Code and Regulations. If you need advice in relation to your eligibility for relief or structuring an appropriate rent relief package please contact us.

Authors: Craig Munter & Helen Pham