With regard to small businesses in the CBD which continue to lose significant business as a result of work from home policies in adjacent towers and which relied on JobKeeper to stay afloat, what action will be taken to introduce protections against loss of security bonds or financial guarantees for those businesses that decide to close?
This response was updated with additional information on 14 July 2021.
The support package announced on 13 July 2021 includes a specific provision requiring commercial and retail landlords to attempt mediation before recovering a security bond, or locking out or evicting a tenant impacted by the COVID-19 Public Health Order.
Commercial and retail landlords liable for land tax will be eligible for a land tax concession to the value of rent reductions provided to impacted tenants up to 100% of 2021 land tax liability.
The support package also includes these supports for impacted small businesses:
Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 had protections under the Retail and Other Commercial Leases Regulation, which put in place temporary measures to share the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic between commercial landlords and tenants.
While the prescribed period of the Regulation ended for all tenants on 28 March 2021, the Government amended the Retail Leases Act so that landlords cannot take actions against eligible tenants relating to a breach of the lease that occurred during the prescribed period, unless they have renegotiated rent and attempted mediation.
The Small Business Commission’s Mediation Services team can support tenants and landlords to resolve disputes in a cost-effective and non-adversarial way, regardless of whether the Regulation applies, including disputes about security binds and financial guarantees. Any application for mediation through the Small Business Commission will be assigned a case manager and treated as a high priority.
Encouraging people to return to the CBD
The NSW government has been committed to encouraging people to return to the CBD whenever it is safe to do so, and has invested in a broad range of CBD and Greater Sydney initiatives, including:
Recent restrictions – Initial support package
In addition to the initial grants package (now replaced by extended grants) announced in response to the recent COVID-19 restrictions, the NSW Government also: