We wrote an article reviewing the rent relief provisions available during the early months of the Covid pandemic in the standard commercial lease (see the the Winter 2020 edition of Property Speaking).

There continue to be a range of factors beyond the control of a landlord and tenant that could leave a tenant without the reasonable use of their premises. Some commentators have said that we may be in for another Covid wave and there may be some unforeseen situations (such as the protests in Parliament's grounds in February-March) that could further disrupt businesses and could create genuine safety concerns preventing tenants from accessing their premises.

If your lease uses the Auckland District Law Society Deed of Lease Sixth Edition template, you will find the rent relief provisions at clause 27. Clauses 27.1-27.4 apply where the property is partially damaged so you don't receive the full benefit.

Clauses 27.5-27.6 apply where there is an emergency and a tenant is prohibited or restricted from accessing the premises.

Access restrictions must be imposed by a competent authority (such as the Ministry of Health) as in the lockdowns that New Zealand faced in 2020-21. The rent relief provisions are, however, unlikely to apply if your workplace is infected with Covid and you need to close your premises for a week to isolate.

In each case, a landlord and tenant should discuss their particular circumstances and reach an outcome that works for both parties. If you want to know if rent relief is appropriate in your particular circumstances, please contact us.