The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme Regulations 2021 (Regulations) were released on Tuesday. Basically, tenants (whose turnover is less than $50m, are not public companies, or a subsidiary of a public company and had turnover that declined by 30% or more this year compared to the same period in 2019) can apply for rent relief, that will apply on and from 28 July 2021 and end on 15 January 2022.
What you need to know
Claims for rent relief should be made on or before 30 September 2021, or if after that date, rent relief may only apply from the date of request. If a valid claim is made before 30 September 2021, landlords cannot terminate a lease, or call up a bank guarantee or draw on a security deposit, because of non-payment of rent or outgoings during the period noted above.
However, tenants are required to pay some rent. A tenant must pay a portion of the rent equal to the rent reduced by the same percentage as the tenant’s decline in turnover, as set out in the tenant’s claim for rent relief. So, if a tenant’s turnover has dropped 50% over the relevant period (see further below) the tenant is required to pay 50% of the rent.
The Regulations specify that the decline in turnover, is measured by comparing a consecutive 3 month period between 1 April and 30 September 2021 and the corresponding period in 2019. There are a number of alternative comparison methods that are specified in the Regulations.
Tenants seeking rent relief, should apply for rent relief by 30 September 2021 (as rent relief is backdated to 28 July 2021) and strictly comply with Regulation 27 to avoid any argument that the request for rent relief was not valid. There are a number of statements and documents that should accompany a request for rent relief.
There is deemed agreement to a landlord’s offer of rent relief in 15 days of receiving the landlord’s offer, where the landlord and the tenant have not agreed on the rent relief, the tenant has not referred the matter to the SBC and the landlord’s offer complies with the relevant regulation (that is, the rent relief must be at least proportional to the tenant’s decline in turnover, at least 50% of the rent relief must be by way of rent free and take into account any payments of rent made and any other relevant circumstances raised by the tenant).
Tenants may seek rent relief from landlords for the period 28 July 2021 to 15 January 2022. It is vitally important for tenants and landlords to comply strictly with the Regulations.