NSW adds $440m land tax relief to state’s COVID-19 response
New South Wales is the latest state to announce additional funding to help commercial property landlords and small businesses survive the coronavirus crisis.
The NSW Government on Monday unveiled a $440 million land tax package to assist tenants and landlords as they deal with a downturn as a result of virus-related restrictions.
The assistance is in addition to the assistance rolled out by the Federal Government in recent days, which includes JobSeeker and JobKeeper allowances as well as other measures such as a moratorium on commercial property evictions for tenants impacted by COVID-19.
As part of the package, the Office of Small Business will receive $10 million to fund additional mediators to help landlords and tenants negotiate an outcome when discussions stall, and the NSW Tenants Union will receive $2.3 million immediately in order to increase their resourcing to answer more tenant queries.
But the majority of the funding will be funnelled into providing a 25% land tax rebate or waiver for landlords who pass on an equivalent amount of rental relief for their tenants, as well as deferring land tax for the next three months for landlords who are yet to pay their land tax bill this year.
NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, says tenants and small businesses will also receive tax relief.
“In addition we’ve also provided significant support when it comes to the waiving and deferral of payroll tax of small businesses, a range of other taxes as well, and the $10,000 payment we announced just last week for small businesses who don’t qualify paying for pay roll tax who were affected by COVID-19,” Perrottet says.
Finance and Small Business Minister, Damian Tudehope, says the funding should provide further clarity for tenants and landlords trying to negotiate a path through many challenges currently facing them.
“If you’re a business which has been impacted by the COVID crisis, we want you to have a framework against which you can negotiate an outcome, an outcome to be able to say ‘I will be able to open’, so one of the chief emphasis in this package is mediation,” Tudehope says.
“My experience to date has been and the reports that I get to date is that the majority of landlords and tenants are in fact negotiating new arrangements themselves but where they can’t reach that agreement themselves, then we are wanting them to be able to mediate that solution through the Office of Small Business.”
The NSW funding comes after the Queensland Government last week unveiled a $400 million land tax package to alleviate pressure on landlords facing a reduction in rental returns as they support their tenants in the coming months.
Under the program, Queensland will offer a three-month rebate on land tax for 2019-20, followed by a three-month deferral of land tax for 2020-21 for property owners who agree to provide rent relief for struggling tenants.
The Victorian Government says it is working towards assistance measures to help landlords and tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know this is an incredibly difficult time for renters and landlords and we’re working hard to get an effective resolution for everyone as quickly as possible,” a government spokesperson said on Friday,
“The National Cabinet has agreed to a moratorium for six months on evictions for both residential and commercial tenants if they are struggling to pay rent because of financial hardship due to coronavirus, and we will have more to say on this soon.
Meanwhile, Consumer Affairs Victoria has overturned a short-lived ban on physical inspections of occupied properties following backlash from the state’s real estate industry.
The WA Government has introduced the waiving of rental payments for any lease holders from state government agencies and trading enterprises.
There has been a halt to evictions, reduction of rent by mutual agreement between the landlord and tenant, and tenants are permitted to break their lease due to hardship.
The ACT, NT, and SA governments are still in discussions as to how they will help tenants and landlords in their states.