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Keep up to date with the Office of the Small Business Commissioner News and other information relating to small business.
Changes to special protections for retail and commercial leases affected by COVID-19
Special regulations introduced as part of the State Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which have provided significant protections to tenants in retail and commercial premises, ended on 3 January 2021.
For rental disputes between lessors and affected lessees that relate to the COVID-19 pandemic and remain unresolved prior to 4 January 2021, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (Act) and COVID-19 Emergency Response (Commercial Leases No 2) Regulations 2020 (Regulations) will continue to have effect (where appropriate).
The Act and Regulations have provided the opportunity for tenants and their landlords to negotiate in good faith and, where necessary, mediate through the Office of the Small Business Commissioner.
From 4 January 2021, disputes relating to retail and commercial leases from that date will revert to the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 and Retail and Commercial Leases Regulations 2010 or other relevant legislation.
Therefore any breaches of the terms of a lease after 4 January 2021 may be dealt with by way of breach notice and normal enforcement measures, including distraint and eviction.
It is critical that retail and commercial tenants ensure that rental commitments required under a lease are paid on normal and/or agreed terms and in full from 4 January 2021. Lessees should clearly identify what period the payment is for (eg January 2021 Rent).
In the first instance, if lessees are having difficulty making payments, they should commence discussions with their lessor as soon as possible.
As always, we strongly urge any lessor to take independent legal advice prior to taking enforcement action.
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner is ready to assist both lessees and lessors in resolving their differences.
For information on residential tenancies, contact Consumer and Business Services.
For further information on the State Government's response to assist lessees and lessors please click here.
For the latest information on the COVID-19 Responses
To stay up to date for the latest COVID-19 business restrictions and responses - please click here.
The full details of the Emergency Direction issued by the State Co-ordinator and Police Commissioner, Grant Stevens can be found here.
For further information on SA Government assistance for small business please click here.
Changes to the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995
Landlords and tenants in the retail and commercial leasing industry need to be aware of important changes to the Retail and Commercial Leases Act 1995 (the Act) and accompanying Regulations.
These changes came into force on 1 July 2020. A summary of these changes can be found here.
A copy of the amending Bill as passed by both houses can be found here.
From 1 July 2020, at the time when a copy of a proposed lease is provided to a prospective tenant, the landlord or person acting on behalf of the landlord must also provide the prospective lessee with a copy of the Small Business Commissioner’s information brochure, which is referred to as the Retail & Commercial Leasing Guide. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in a penalty of up to $8,000.
A copy of the information brochure which is effective from 1 July 2020, can be found here.
For further information please contact the Office of the Small Business Commissioner via our Contact Form.
Small Business Commissioner Annual Report 2019-20
Annual Report 2019-20
The 2019-20 Annual Report for the Office of the Small Business Commissioner was tabled in Parliament on Thursday, 12 November 2020.