• Darren Rawlins

NZ Businesses cry out for rent relief negotiation

If there was ever a need for urgent dispute resolution, now is that time.

Business owners all over New Zealand, are struggling with paying their rent following the lock down period. Many are struggling to engage with their landlords about their cash-flow problems, and trying to reach a deal until they are in a better position.

Many businesses in New Zealand that have a downturn due to COVID-19 and are looking to talk with their landlords to find a mutually satisfying agreement to work their way through to keep viable businesses going across New Zealand.

Mediation can play a key role in settling rent relief disputes.

Tenants across New Zealand are receiving from their landlords penalty payments, threats of eviction, calling in personal guarantees, and in some extreme cases landlords are trying to increase rents.

In a recent survey of 985 small business owners, 82% said that reaching a new agreement on their rent was unlikely without action from the government. In fact, 20% have not agreed any rent relief for the lockdown period (April-June), and even fewer (10%) have agreed rent relief for the July to September period.

The government had proposed to partially fund arbitration as a process to help settle rent disputes, but after NZ First pulled their support , the scheme is no longer going to happen.

CEO of the Franchise Association of New Zealand Robyn Pickerill, said that in New Zealand there are 631 franchise brands, 37,000 franchises and 124,000 employees, bringing $27.6 billion into the economy. Many are successful long-term businesses, and Pickerill says "the government help needs to come through… what we are looking for is landlords and tenants to get around table and negotiate a fair rent"

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