The National Retail Association (NRA) has today welcomed a ruling by the ACCC to authorise tenants to collectively bargain with landlords for continued rental relief if they’ve been adversely affected by COVID-19.

The authorisation kicks in immediately and allows tenants impacted by COVID-19 to discuss, share information and collectively negotiate with landlords regarding rental support. Landlords will also be able to discuss and share information to make agreements regarding rental relief offered to SME tenants by landlords.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that the decision recognised the urgent need for retailers and landlords to collectively negotiate mutually beneficial arrangements during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Retail has been hit hard by COVID-19, with NRA members losing $1 billion in the month of March alone. Although restrictions are starting to be eased, the economic carnage wreaked by COVID-19 is far from over,” Ms Lamb said.

“The ability for tenants and landlords to get together and collectively negotiate outcomes that maximise the chances of businesses meeting their rental obligations will be very beneficial.

“The ACCC decision ruling will improve the quality of information accessible to both tenants and landlords, which will result in better negotiations and more appropriate rent relief measures.

“We welcome the ruling by the ACCC and will be engaging with NRA members across the country on how this measure can assist them in surviving the COVID-19 crisis.”

The authorisation will stay in place for as long the COVID-19 pandemic continues to adversely affect businesses in the retail sector. A link to the ACCC ruling can be found here.