Some small but important changes to NSW’s COVID-19 leasing laws, continuing the Government’s broadly ‘hands-off’ approach.
Previously, tenants needed to qualify for specific NSW Government grants to be ‘impacted lessees’. Instead, some tenants received a ‘Commonwealth COVID-19 Disaster Payment’, excluding them from NSW Government grants, meaning the tenant was not an ‘impacted lessee’. This is now fixed – tenants can be impacted if they receive the Commonwealth grant.
As lockdowns ease, a tenant’s fortunes may change and they may cease qualifying as an impacted lessee. For instance, the tenant no longer qualifies for government grants. Landlords can monitor this – being relevant to other COVID-19 amendments – by requesting information showing if tenants remain impacted lessees. Requests are limited to fortnightly.
If a tenant stops being an impacted lessee, the COVID-19 protections do not automatically lift. Instead, the amendments allow further lease renegotiation. This change, despite some awkward wording, permits the following:
The new amendments make some specific matters relevant for renegotiations:
These laws also show a shift – the amendments pre-empt better retail trade and commercial life, hopefully signalling an end to challenging times.
Author: Bede Haines
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