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last updated 28/09/2020


Assistance available for lockdown lease issues

last updated 28/09/2020


28 September 2020 - The Government has at last announced details of its arbitration and mediation funding package aimed at resolving ongoing disputes between commercial tenants and their landlords arising out of the Level 4 and 3 lockdowns. However, unlike the original proposal of 4 months ago, landlords can't be forced to participate.

The Government announced on Friday 25th September that it will provide assistance for businesses struggling with reaching rent relief agreements by providing an arbitration and mediation funding package, available through their approved service suppliers. Those who meet the eligibility criteria will be able to access these streamlined and subsidised services.

If commercial tenants and landlords of small to medium businesses haven’t been able to agree about rent arrangements during a lockdown period (Alert Levels 3 and 4), these services can be used to try to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties. Some form of assistance  was originally promised back in June, although it should be noted that this new arrangement is only voluntary, meaning that both the landlord and tenant need to agree to take part.

To apply, at least one of the parties needs to be New Zealand-based and have 20 or fewer full-time equivalent staff per lease site. Arbitration services will be subsidised up to $6,000 (including GST) per dispute. Participants need to fund any remaining costs of the service up to a maximum of $2,000. Mediation services will be fully funded, up to a value of $4,000 (including GST) per dispute.

See here for eligibility, fees and how to apply.

The subsidised services are available for six months from 25 September 2020 to the end of March 2021.

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