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NCAT Tribunal and what it can do for you in strata?

We often hear about “NCAT” and “Tribunal” proceedings in the land of strata. Ever wondered what it can do for you? It sounds difficult. But it should not be, really! We know many pretend to be Supreme Court judges in NCAT matters but that is not entirely correct. It can get complicated especially with building, construction and defect disputes etc, but not the everyday nuisances and issues!

In fact, the NCAT application fee for many common strata and community scheme issues is just $107 and lawyers aren’t really meant to be involved in the first place (And here at Matthews Folbigg, we can even draft the points and bundle for you to submit and argue for those simpler issues – being one of our practical options available).

Below is a broad overview of what NCAT can do for you (and what it can’t):

  1. Noise transmission – We have various practical packages to deal with this, before or at the NCAT level. Like anything else, you will need evidence. We will guide you as to what is needed. We recognise the parties are often neighbours. So, we always strive to settle the matter amicably using our specialist negotiation skills without resorting to the Tribunal.
  2. Continue reading…

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VOI requirements and processes for Property, Strata and Community Schemes Participants

You may have wondered why lately there is a greater emphasis on providing identification documents compared to the prior years. This is due to the continuing evolution of the verification requirements. Also, the recent disciplinary decision of Youssef v NSW Legal Services Commissioner [2020] NSWCATOD 85 serves as a cautionary tale to all property and strata participants regarding the importance of the matter when dealing with land transactions. They can involve:

  1. Transfers of land;
  2. Leases;
  3. Caveats;
  4. Change of by-laws;
  5. Plans of subdivision;
  6. Management statements and development contracts (including their amendments);
  7. Mortgages;
  8. Easements, property developments and redevelopments; and
  9. Basically anything that changes a notification on the title of a property or common property.

We have set out briefly below on what is involved so you can better understand why your lawyer or bank manager may ask you for the various documents next time you have a transaction. And of course, if you have a matter with us, we will let you know:
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NSW stamp duty for new homes under $800K eliminated temporarily

Stamp duty can add a substantial amount to the price of buying a property. That can be as much as, or even more than, five per cent of the purchase value, depending on where you are buying.

The NSW government has temporarily axed stamp duty for new homes under $800,000, as a way to support first home buyers and the construction industry.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian recently announced that the NSW government will temporarily remove stamp duty on newly built homes valued at under $800,000 and will raise the threshold for stamp duty on vacant land from $350,000 to $400,000 from 1 August 2020 for a period of 12 months.

In NSW, a stamp duty concession is available for eligible first home buyers. For properties valued up to $650,000 the stamp duty is waived and there is concessionary relief for properties valued up to $800,000. These rates will continue to apply for established homes however first buyers of new homes and vacant land will get the benefit of the new changes.
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New! Key Changes to the Covid Leasing Rules for Landlords and Tenants

The Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Amendment Regulation 2020 (NSW) (the Amendment) commenced on 3 July 2020 and changes some of the rules affecting retail/commercial landlords and tenants when it comes to the impact of COVID-19.



The Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 (NSW) (the Regulation) commenced operation on 24 April 2020.  The Regulation gave effect to the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Leases (the Code).

Key aspects of the Regulation include:

  • an “impacted lessee” (that is, a tenant under a retail or commercial lease in NSW who qualifies for JobKeeper and has turnover of less than $50 million for FY18/19) is, amongst other things, entitled to re-negotiate the rent payable under their lease
  • a landlord cannot take any “prescribed action” against an impacted lessee (such as eviction, termination of the lease, or calling on any security provided by the tenant) due to non-payment of rent or outgoings during the “prescribed period” (ie, a period of 6 months commencing on 24 April 2020)
  • Continue reading…

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National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct (Code) for Commercial Tenants and Landlords released on 7 April, 2020

How can we assist you?

The Code for Commercial Tenants and Landlords released on April 7th by the National Cabinet contains complex provisions that if not properly understood by you, could lead to an outcome for you that is sub-optimal and which could penalise your business financially for many months to come.

In this article we have provided a summary of the main provisions contained within the Code however, we encourage you to seek assistance. Our Commercial Leasing Team is ready to assist you to negotiate with your Landlord/Tenant.


If you are unsure of your rights and obligations as an eligible Tenant or a Landlord during this period of uncertainty, please take a moment to consider the points below as well as read the  Code to ensure you understand the full extent of your entitlements and obligations under the Code as well as your lease during this period.

If you engage us we can guide you through the Code and your negotiations including documenting any arrangements you make.  We can explain the application of the Code to you and assist you in formulating a negotiation position.
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Code of Conduct for Commercial Tenancies – Released

By Anica Cunanan, Law Clerk at Matthews Folbigg Lawyers

Undeniably, the financial impact of COVID-19 has triggered a myriad of changes to the laws. The National Cabinet has released a mandatory Code of Conduct in relation to the commercial property sector. This sets out the principles to be applied to adjustments to rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Code is based upon a series of good faith principles to be applied to commercial tenancies during this unprecedented time. It will apply to those tenants who are eligible for the JobKeeper programme, with annual turnover of up to $50 million (“SME Tenants”).

The Code of Conduct includes the following:

  • Landlords should not terminate due to non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 pandemic period;
  • Proportionality to rent reductions based on the tenant’s decline of turnover;
  • ‘Tailored’ and ‘bespoke’ solutions to be negotiates between landlords and SME Tenants; and
  • A mix of at least 50% waivers and the balance of deferrals in respect of rent obligations.
  • Continue reading…

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COVID-19: Critical Matters for Commercial & Retail Tenants and Landlords

COVID-19: Critical Matters for Commercial & Retail Tenants and Landlords

New Laws

The NSW Government now has the power to set new rules for retail landlords and tenants, the details of which will be known in coming days.

Although the new laws (currently) only relate to retail leases, nevertheless there are substantial challenges for both commercial and retail tenants and landlords to consider as set out below arising from the COVID-19 situation.

What is expected?

For retail tenants and landlords it is expected that the new laws will address such matters as evictions, bank guarantees/bonds, tenant defaults, rent abatements, and mandatory/core trading hours.

Caution must therefore be exercised when purporting to rely upon a lease term as it may be modified or prohibited under the new regime.

What about force majeure and rent abatement clauses?

Contractual force majeure provisions (ie, events beyond the reasonable control of a party) and rent abatement clauses will have important significance and need to be carefully considered in terms of the rights, remedies and obligations they create for both landlords and tenants.
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COVID-19: Leases

For our property clients, these are challenging times and we are here to make sure that you receive appropriate support. We have outlined below an area of immediate concern which we encourage you to review and contact us if you require further advice.


We have already seen landlords and tenants suffering from the negative impact of Covid-19. Some tenants are not able to pay rent and have asked for a reduction/abatement and some landlords have had trouble keeping up with their mortgage and loan repayment.

It is a good time now to review your lease and/or loan agreement to understand your current position and what you can do to keep your business afloat (if you are a landlord) or to remain in your rental property (if you are a tenant).

Although all agreements should be considered on their own merit, there are generally helpful covenants in your leases or loan agreement that will offer relief during unexpected circumstances occurring through neither party’s fault.
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