More closures, but few answers

March 27, 2020

Uncategorized

In the absence of any definitive answers from either the Federal or State Governments my colleague Elizabeth Ruddle continues to trawl the media for news on the retail leasing sector and has sent me the information below.

Following on from reports yesterday that Premier Brands will be closing their stores until April and have unilaterally made the decision not to pay rent, the Australian Financial Review is today reporting that other major bands are likewise closing and not intending to pay rent. Full report here: https://www.afr.com/companies/retail/retailer-rent-revolt-hits-mall-landlords-20200326-p54e6e

As has previously been mentioned on the blog, some Commercial and Shopping Centre Landlords have already indicated a willingness to negotiate or provide rent relief. Woolworths are latest to make such an announcement: https://www.shoppingcentrenews.com.au/shopping-centre-news/industry-news/woolworths-group-helps-small-business-with-rental-relief-and-employment-opportunities/

Of course, none of this helps tenants outside the major shopping centre chains nor is there any clarity for small landlords. In the absence of any formal changes to the operation of either the Retail Leases Act or the Property Law Act, right now it seems that negotiation with landlords is the best bet for tenants struggling with the effects of Covid-19. After all, landlords will be unlikely to find replacement tenants in the current environment.

About Sam Hopper

Sam is a property and insolvency barrister.

View all posts by Sam Hopper

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