Commercial tenants encouraged to contact landlords to negotiate Rent.

We hope you’re keeping well and coping with the challenges being thrown at us.

We are currently working on a further update following yesterday’s Government’s announcement, on their third economic response and new wage subsidy plans.

However in the interim, we would like to raise one issue that could be of particular relevance and importance for your business.

In the wake of yesterday’s Australian Banking Association’s announcement (link below) that banks will extend the 6 month loan repayment deferral package to 30,000 more businesses, we encourage all our clients with rental agreements in place, to contact your landlords and open a dialogue to hopefully negotiate a reduction of rent for a period of time.  The ABA have confirmed that in order to access this support package commercial landlords of properties, must agree not to terminate leases or evict current tenants for rent arrears. CEO Anna Bligh said ”Where landlords within this threshold do the right thing by their tenants, banks will do the right thing by them”.

Different businesses are experiencing different challenges and these are uncharted waters. However, you do not have any legal right at the moment to stop paying rent, so given these extraordinary times, we encourage you to approach your landlord and have a pragmatic discussion and explore any options of rental relief or discounts, and hopefully come to an amicable arrangement.

This should not necessarily involve you extending your lease term in return for rent relief now. The current situation is continually changing but the rules of the game are changing as well – landlords should not be saying to tenants that their problems are not the landlords’ problems. The message should be 100% of something now, is better than 0% of nothing down the track.

Read the ABA’s announcement here.

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