The NSW government has announced a continuation of the provisions it instated for small businesses struggling to pay rent in the wake of COVID lockdowns.
The government has extended lease protections for some business tenants by continuing to insist on mediation prior to commercial landlords taking action against small-business tenants.
This is another extension to the commercial leasing regulations that were put in place to support small businesses through the pandemic. The protections were updated in December 2021 and January 2022.
From 14 March – when the latest round of protections was set to expire – through 30 June, landlords will be prevented from taking certain actions, including evicting or locking out tenants unless they have attempted mediation.
The rules apply to landlords of tenants who had a turnover of less than $5 million in 2020-21 and received the 2022 Small Business Support Grant, the 2021 Micro-business Grant, the 2021 Business Grant, or a 2021 JobSaver payment.
Treasurer Matt Kean said the continuation of protections recognised that the challenges facing small businesses have been substantial and that many are still struggling.
“Throughout COVID-19 we have made it our mission to listen to the small business community and understand what they need to keep the lights on so they can continue to provide jobs and support to our economy,” Mr Kean said.
“The small business community is the backbone of our economy so anything we can reasonably do to support their operation through the challenges, we will do.
“We appreciate and acknowledge the constructive approach of commercial property owners in working together with their tenants in these very challenging circumstances.”
Eleni Petinos, NSW’s Minister for Small Business, said they hoped the mediation provisions would keep struggling SMEs open for business and able to navigate a way out of their difficulties.
“Small businesses have experienced enormous challenges over the past two years,” Ms Petinos acknowledged.
“Extending mediation protections under the commercial leasing regulation is a sensible move that will help keep businesses open for trade”.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.
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