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NSW: Land Tax Relief and new COVID-19 Leasing Regulations

The NSW Government has reintroduced COVID-19 leasing regulations and announced new land tax concessions for landlords who provide rent relief to eligible tenants.

Land Tax Relief

Landlords who provide rent relief (ie, a waiver not a deferral of rent) to eligible tenants between 1 July 2021 – 31 December 2021 will be entitled to a reduction in their land tax payable for the 2021 land tax year.

The amount of the land tax reduction will be the lesser of:

  • the amount of rent reduction provided to an eligible tenant for any period between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021; or
  • 100% of the land tax attributable to the parcel of land leased to that tenant.

To be “eligible” the tenant must

  • occupy land in NSW under a retail or commercial lease;
  • have an annual turnover for the 2020–2021 financial year of less than $50 million (including the turnover of any corporate group which the tenant is a member of); and
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Strata – COVID Stay at Home Orders

Covid stay-at-home orders and what is “at home” for strata lot owners/occupier?

All of you should (or are deemed) to know, there are various health orders currently in-force due to Covid. We often hear the requirements to “stay at home”. But it is a timely reminder to consider again what is a home for strata lot owners or occupiers?

As most strata owners should know, they own the “airspace” insider their unit/apartment but also co-own the entire strata building and the common properties with the other owners as per their unit entitlements. So, is the nice looking patio downstairs a part of your home? Normally, yes. But please, use some common sense, not for covid / isolation purposes! The Parliamentary intention is that people should isolate at home, as much as they can away from other people etc. Good luck!

Matthews Folbigg has experienced strata lawyers that can assist lot owners and strata managers with advice. if you would like to speak with a strata lawyer, please call us on 9635 7966

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How effective is my Will?

I am hearing about all these claims against estates – how effective is my Will?

Although claims against Estates get coverage in the media, most Estates are in fact completed on the basis of the wishes of the deceased in accordance with their Will.

It should be remembered the starting point at law is that a person is entitled to leave his or her estate to whoever they choose. A person has freedom to choose their beneficiaries – whether they be family members, other persons or their favourite charity.

Claims against estates under the “family provision” parts of succession law allow a limited group of people to seek provision out of an estate if they were left out or feel greater provision should have been made for them.

In simple terms, these “eligible persons” are spouses, de facto partners, children (including adult children) and grandchildren or members of the household who were dependent upon the deceased. But they must convince the Court why the claim should be entertained.
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By Anica Cunanan, Solicitor at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Greater Sydney is currently in a lockdown and has remained in the dark with respect to whether, and when businesses would receive some relief.

Last year, the Federal Government introduced the JobKeeper scheme to assist with keeping businesses afloat (including employees within those businesses) through of the payment of wage subsidies subject to certain criteria.

The Morrison and Berejiklian Governments have announced that NSW businesses will finally receive some relief as we enter the fourth week of lockdown in NSW. It is evident that regardless of whether lockdown is in fact extended past 30 July 2021, businesses have already experienced a substantial hit. Should lockdown continue to be extended, we may see plenty of businesses struggling to make it through this lockdown.

On 13 July 2021, The Premier, Treasurer released some information regarding the new NSW COVID-19 support package, including the following:
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The Schools Blog: Part 3 – The Fail Safe for Fee Recovery

There is an inherent difficulty in balancing the financial viability of a school with the desire to educate will often come to a head because educating the child is no longer possible. In such cases, it may be necessary to recover school fees through legal proceedings. This instalment of the blog series provides a short summary of the standard recovery process.

  1. Settlement – Negotiations over the terms of a settlement will often continue for the duration of the legal proceedings. Settlement does not mean complete compromise; it may simply mean that the parties have recognised that the cost of legal fees will mean that payment of the unpaid fees is more efficiently and economically resolved between the parties. Legal proceedings can sometimes be necessary to draw parents and guardians to that conclusion.
  2. Legal Letters – A letter of demand provides the parents and guardians with a final opportunity to make payment before Court proceedings are commenced. If drafted on the letterhead of a law firm, this letter will often elicit a response from the parents and guardians. This response may include information about their position as relevant to the commencement and resolution of legal proceedings and, in the best case, provide for the payment of the unpaid fees.
  3. Continue reading…

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By Anica Cunanan, Solicitor at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

The debt collection process is one which causes a lot of hesitation and frustration which can lead to a misunderstanding of what the key differences are between a debt collection agency and a debt collection lawyer.

Some creditors choose to handle such matters on their own whilst others choose to engage with a debt collection agency at first instance. That being said, engaging with a debt collection lawyer is a step which many avoid due to some misconceptions of how lawyers deal with the debt recovery process and by the same token, engaging a lawyer can seem daunting.

Well, what approach should you take and are there certain circumstances where one is more appropriate than the other?

There are various factors that need to be considered when deciding on whether to engage a debt collection agency or debt collection lawyer, such as:
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Building defects in strata buildings and the legislative safeguards

Building Defects and Part 11 Protections for Strata Owners

We have previously written an article about the new duty of care protection in favour of property and strata owners, which is available under the new Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 NSW (DBPA). Basically, it establishes a new duty of care against various building practitioners, retrospectively, covering losses arising from the last 10 years or so. However, that is not the only remedy available (of course). The issue of building defects have been around for a very long time and the legislation have been changing constantly, especially for strata buildings.

For example, the 2% developer bond and inspection scheme has been in operation since 1 January 2018 under Part 11 of the Strata Management Scheme Act 2015 (NSW). In fact, it was written into the 2015 Act when it first commenced. On 1 July 2020, there was another round of amendments to the scheme.
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The Schools Blog: Part 2 – Recovering fees whilst retaining relationships

Unpaid school fees can cause a strain in the relationship between the school and parents and guardians. The school is often left in a difficult position where the desire to educate children competes with the financial viability of running the school. There are however, a few simple steps that can be taken to resolve conflicts about unpaid school fees between the school and parents and guardians.

  1. Telephone Discussions – Informal discussions are an undervalued tool in resolving fee disputes. Whilst it may be more convenient in the short term to send statements to parents and guardians, a quick conversation with the parents and guardians can help to identify the underlying issues which are preventing payment. Smaller issues can be addressed quickly and efficiently so that the school fees are paid without the need to escalate the non-payment. Larger issues can be referred to a solicitor for consideration of the most efficient and cost effective forward in rectifying the non-payment.
  2. Continue reading…