Reply To: Good morningi work in Wellington for the NZ Red Cross for a small team called Pathways to Employment, supporting former refugees to get into employment.I’m writing on behalf of a client of mine (with his permission), who began a small food business on the Terrace in August 2019. He has remained on a partial benefit, as he was only covering his costs, but hoped to become fully independent this year. He was able to employ a part-time staff member, and applied for, and received the wage subsidy for her. His issue, as with many others, is continuing to pay his rent. He has contacted his landlord, who has offered him a 50% reduction during the lock down period, and managed to scrape together enough to pay his rent for this month, but won’t be able to continue .He has sent me a copy of his lease but it doesn’t have the clause (27.5) about his inability to access his property that I’ve seen discussed in the media. His lease is with the Radnor group,and includes the contact details of his landlord.  I have suggested he contact his lawyer, but he is worried about the costs he might incur, and as English is not his first language, the finer points of legal advice are difficult for him to comprehend.He has worked incredibly hard to bring his dream to fruition, so any suggestions you have to help him would be gratefully received.Thank youMarian Petrie

Hello Marian, this is not an isolated case and all retailers on a lease will be having similar concerns. The reality is, is that landlords will continue to need tenants when the crisis has passed. It is far more efficient for landlords to hold onto current tenants than look to find new ones. Hence your client is perhaps not in as bad a situation as she/he thinks. In the initial instance I would recommend your client continues to discuss the situation with their landlord and seek a further lease holiday. Radnor may come back and agree to this on the basis that your client pays an increased leased in the future when the business is back on their feet.

As an aside, it is starting to appear we are getting on top of CV19 and it may be just a matter of weeks now before level 4 is lifted so encourage your client to hang in there and reach out to MBIE to understand other ways they maybe supporting businesses.

Good luck