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COVID-19 Block Exemption for the Retail Property Sector Regulations in Place

March 25, 2020

Department of Trade and Industry

Regulations to exempt a category of agreements or practices between designated retail tenants and retail property landlords have been drawn up.

The trade and industry department published the 2020 COVID-19 Block Exemption for the Retail Property Sector Regulations in Government Gazette 43134.

The agreements or practices will be exempt from Sections 4 and 5 of the Competition Act in response to the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic as a national disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

The exemption is designed to promote cooperation in containing the pandemic and assist the retail property sector to minimise the negative impact on the ability of designated retail tenants, including small independent retailers, to manage their finances during the national disaster.

Designated retail tenants include clothing, footwear and home textile retailers; personal care services and restaurants.

Agreements or practices falling within the scope of the regulations include payment holidays and/or rental discounts for tenants; limitations on the eviction of tenants and the suspension or adjustment to lease agreement clauses that restrict tenants from undertaking reasonable measures to protect viability during the disaster.

The regulations came into effect on the date of publication.