If you have commercial or retail tenants asking for rent reductions or want to stop paying rent, you should ensure that you:
- guide them to all available support measures for their business
- ask them to provide evidence that they are seeking relief from government announced programs, utility companies, their bank, and the like
- ask them to provide documentation to confirm any business distress including current revenues and sales figures
- advise them that while evictions have been temporarily halted, other parts of the lease are enforceable including accruing rental debts, claiming bank guarantees, etc.
- if you offer any discounts or deferments, ensure that those arrangements are properly documented in letters and agreements that have been signed by the parties. It may be necessary at a later stage to produce these documents for tax and audit reasons or for future support schemes.
The Housing minister also announced that “there is no moratorium on not paying rent”. Please watch this interview with Minister of Housing Michael Sukkar explaining tenants obligations.
You may also like to watch interview with Sydney solicitors from Jemmeson Fisher about landlord and tenant rights inside a commercial lease breach.
Please note that the situation is changing daily and this is general guidance, not advice specific to your circumstances. You should seek advice from your own legal and tax advisers before taking any action in this situation.