New Support To Resolve Commercial Rent Disputes 

 

The Government has taken steps to help businesses resolve disputes over their commercial rent agreements during COVID-19.  

  • Tenants may be unable to pay their rent as their business is not fully operating.  

  • Landlords may also be unable to meet their mortgage payments.  

Parties to many smaller-scale commercial leases will be required to negotiate the payment obligations to ensure a fair rent is agreed. Negotiations can be conducted in any way agreed by the parties, such as through mediation. Remaining disputes must be resolved through arbitration with the Government subsiding up to $6000 per proceed and $40million in total. 

  • A temporary law change was made giving commercial tenants more time to catch up on overdue rent (10 working days increased to 30 working days) before a landlord can take steps to evict them. 

  • If commercial tenants are having difficulty paying rent, that may make it difficult for landlords to keep up with their mortgage payments. The law changes also give borrowers (including landlords) more time to catch up on overdue mortgage payments (20 working days to 40 working days) before a lender can take steps to enforce the mortgage. 

For more information see Guidance for commercial leases and mortgages during COVID-19 — Ministry of Justice