Reply To: Hi, I run a hairdressing salon and we sublet to a coffee cart style operation.  We were unable to trade at all through levels 3 and 4 and the coffee shop operated a takeaway at level 3 only.  Our rent is currently $12,503 per month and the landlord initially advised we had to pay the entire amount.  We do have a no access clause enabling us to determine fair rent and when I pointed this out he had indicated that 50% is fair.  However our revenue is down 100% and I have offered him 25% for the level 3 and 4 period and full rent from yesterday.  He has not agreed to that and we are now looking into mediation.  However, the fees for the mediator are $3000 + GST while the amount disputed is just shy of $3k – he seems happy to proceed but I don’t want to pay this sort of fee.  Do I have to proceed to mediation and what are my options from here?  We still have 19 months on the lease and have signed personal guarantees so walking away is not an option.  He is aware that the rent is a struggle and we currently pay between $50 and 70k a year to keep the salon at a nil loss position.

Hi Clare and sorry to hear your having this challenge. One quick question is this the cost of the joint mediator or your share? and what are the conditions of hours this would cover as $3k feels on the light side.