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Coronavirus related economic impacts continue to affect commercial leasing, but there are options available to both tenants and landlords.

Commercial and retail tenants and landlords have been greatly affected by ongoing trading restrictions and forced closures due to the pandemic. This prompted state and territory governments to introduce temporary emergency response legislation. The legislation restricts rent increases for tenants and the ability of landlords to terminate lease agreements.

While such an initiative cushioned the economic fallout for businesses who qualified for financial support, these measures are due to expire in February. Therefore, both tenants and landlords continue to face uncertainties.

Whilst we can be tentatively optimistic about the handling of the pandemic and the economic outlook here in SA, only time will tell how businesses fare in the long term. In the meantime, parties may need to renegotiate on leasing arrangements before emergency legislation is repealed.

A lawyer with experience in leasing can assist with a range of leasing matters such as:

  • draft and review leases;
  • provide advice on financial obligations and potential pitfalls;
  • renegotiate leases;
  • apply for a rent reduction or deferral of rent payments;
  • provide legal advice on different leasing jurisdictions;
  • negotiate lease clauses including fixtures and fit-out terms, costs and assignment of leases; and
  • resolve a breach of a lease.

Any renegotiations should be appropriately documented. Depending on the specific arrangements this may entail a simple letter or side deed, or a more formal variation to the current lease.

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

Click here for further information on Scammell & Co.’s commercial and company law services.

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