The Property Council sees the Government wasting time in not ensuring a temporary measure suggested 3 weeks ago to support arbitration between landlords & tenants would be put in place.
But in any case, it might be the wrong way round to a solution, as Property Council chief executive Leonie Freeman wrote yesterday: “Rather than offering $6000 to support landlords & tenants in funding arbitration, why didn’t the Government simply give $6000 to tenants in order to meet their costs?
“Surely, this kind of support is of greater benefit than a minimal sum that is unlikely to go very far once the lawyers get involved. Personally, I have seen very few arbitrations be settled for such a fee – often there’s another zero on that figure.
“While we wait, the country has moved on. On to recovery and on to preparation for what can only be described as a long winter ahead.”
The change the Government proposed on 4 June was to “subsidise streamlined arbitrations with up to $6000 including gst/proceeding and up to $40 million in total”.
Ms Freeman said the Property Council had been lobbying Justice Minister Andrew Little & coalition partner NZ First to make changes to the legislation.
“Our recommendations on the draft bill would ensure that already agreed arrangements with tenants wouldn’t be relitigated,” Ms Freeman said.
However, “Thanks to the pressure from NZ First, the Government has been forced to renegotiate to ensure the proposed bill is in step with what the parties had originally agreed. While the politicians do what they do best, our industry waits. For tenants & landlords to move forward, finalise agreements & plan for the future, we need certainty & clarity and – to be frank – we needed it in April.”
Justice Department: Guidance for commercial leases & mortgages during Covid-19
4 June 2020, Government release: Supporting Kiwi businesses to resolve commercial rent disputes
Attribution: Property Council, Government releases.