Legislation introduced by the South Australian government in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, (namely,  the Covid-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 and COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No 2) Regulations 2020), provided special protections to tenants, preventing landlords from imposing rent increases and/or evicting tenants experiencing financial hardship caused by ongoing restrictions and lockdowns.

This in turn caused confusion from landlords and tenants alike, leading to a spike in commercial lease disputes and both tenants and landlords seeking legal advice from commercial and property lawyers throughout South Australia.

With a new emphasis on negotiating on good faith, and businesses being able to continue to trade after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, many issues were resolved  without litigation being instigated via negotiations between the parties and mediation, however, more contentious disputes were still being referred to and dealt with in the Magistrates Court.

With the ever-present risk of further Covid-19 outbreaks, businesses across the state face continued uncertainty and financial pressures brought about by ongoing disruptions to trade, especially amongst the state’s hospitality and retail sectors. These ongoing economic challenges highlight the importance of regular and frank communication between businesses and landlords and ensuring rights between the parties are properly documented (i.e. via lease agreements).

A lawyer with leasing experience can assist with a range of matters including, to:-

  • assist in the negotiation of lease terms
  • draft and review leases
  • provide advice on financial obligations and potential pitfalls
  • renegotiate leases
  • advise in respect to breaches of lease

A Scammell & Co lawyer can also represent either party in any legal proceedings which may be brought before a court because of an unresolved dispute over a lease.