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Our legal experts will keep you up to date on all relevant and current developments.

How is the ATO impacting insolvencies within the building and construction industries?

In April 2022, the ATO issued 50,000 letters of demand to company directors giving them 21 days to resolve tax liabilities.

Historically, once ATO and major banks start escalating collection activity, it’s not uncommon to see insolvencies rise.

This piece from Holman Webb's Commercial Recovery and Insolvency Group highlights the impact that the ATO's issuance of these letters is likely to have within the building and construction industries.


What impact is inflation having on the building, construction and property industries?

The Australian Financial Review recently reported that total construction sector inflation will hit 9.5 per cent over the year to June 2022, and 6 per cent over the year to December 2022”.

This increased financial pressure in the industry will heavily impact the likelihood of increased insolvency activity.

With the latest ABS statistics confirming that the CPI increased by 2.1% in the last quarter, and that inflation reached 5.1% over the 12 months to March 2022 quarter (the highest since 2001) - those in the building and construction industries have been particularly hard hit.

Higher inflation impacts:

These additional costs have flow on effects to construction activity, some of which may be far reaching.


NSW Property Update - June 2022: Land Tax; First Home Buyer Choice; Shared Equity Scheme

On 21 June the New South Wales (NSW) Treasurer, the Hon. Matt Kean MP, announced a range of property-related as part of the 2022-2023 State Budget on 21 June 2022.  

These include:

  • NSW Land Tax
  • First Home Buyer Choice
  • Shared Equity Scheme

Click through for an overview of these new measures, and how they are likely to impact you.


Key Stamp Duty Changes for Grant of a Put Option and/or Call Option Have Commenced

Revenue NSW has announced the following:

“From 19 May 2022, section 8(1)(b)(ix) of the Duties Act 1997 introduced duty on certain transactions that result in a change in beneficial ownership.

A put option and/or call option granted over dutiable property in NSW (such as over land or an interest in land) is a ‘change in beneficial ownership’. This means that duty is payable on any grant fee paid for a put and/or call option entered into from this date.

Click through to read more...


Retail and Commercial Leases During COVID-19: Rent Abatements and Waivers Further Extended – A 2022 Update

Following on from previous articles on the same, this in-depth update from Property and Commercial Special Counsel Alex Bentancor takes a look at the current Retail and Commercial Lease landscape within NSW, as we move into another year of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

This piece covers a range of relevant information for commercial and retail landlords, as well as tenants, including:


Put and Call Option Agreements in Residential Property Transactions

With a look at the recent matter of BP7 Pty Limited v Gavancorp Pty Limited [2021] NSWSC 265, Property Partner Robyn Chamberlain discusses Put and Call Option Agreements within the context of residential property transactions.


Retail and Commercial Leases During COVID-19: The Return of Rent Waivers and Deferrals (Another 2021 Update)

On 14 July 2021, the NSW Government passed the Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2021 which limited the exercise of certain rights by a lessor under retail and other commercial leases for a breach of the lease if:

  • the lessee is a business that qualifies for certain grants due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • the breach is a prescribed breach that occurs between 13 July 2021 and 20 August 2021.

Despite this, the 2021 Regulations did not initially provide for rent relief (waiver or deferrals of rent), or prohibit the increasing of rent under a lease as the Regulations made in 2020 did - they only prohibited landlords from taking certain "Prescribed Action" against a tenant between 13 July 2021 and 20 August 2021.   On 13 August 2021, in response to the surge of COVID-19 cases, the NSW Government passed the Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Amendment Regulation 2021 which:

  • extended the Prescribed Period to 13 January 2022 (so that the Prescribed Period became the 6 month period from 13 July 2021 to 13 January 2022); and
  • re-introduced the requirement for landlords and tenants to renegotiate the rent payable under Impacted Leases, in order to take into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the leasing principles set out in the Code.  

This update from Property and Commercial Special Counsel Alex Bentancor takes a look at the latest changes, and how they're set to impact both retail and commercial landlords and tenants.


Context Must be Considered Where There is Ambiguity in an Insurance Policy
Thursday 29 July 2021 / by Stephanie Davis & Heather McIntosh posted in Insurance Property Opal Tower Construction Insurance Insurance Policy Construction Contract

In the Full Federal Court decision of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company Australia Branch trading as Liberty Specialty Markets v Icon Co (NSW) Pty Ltd [2021] FCAFC 126 given on 20 July 2021, the Full Court addressed the construction and scope of thirdparty liability policies in the context of claims made by a building and construction company for losses occurring as a result of the manifestation of serious defects within a building, during the defects liability period.

Key Take Away
  1. The Full Court maintained that in the event of ambiguity in an insurance policy, the context (including the market) in which the parties are operating, as well as the commercial purpose of the policy, must be considered (Icon’s Cross Appeal); and
  2. Similarly, the Full Court considered that the context of Insurance Policies must always be considered in circumstances where the definition of ordinary words are not clear (QBE Appeal).
  3. The Full Court ultimately prefers Policy Interpretation which refers to extrinsic contextual material where Policy terms are not clear.

Retail and Commercial Leases During COVID-19: A History and 2021 Update

Retail and Commercial tenants in NSW are likely familiar with the operation of the provisions of the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct – SME Commercial Leasing Principles and the NSW Government’s regulations that followed to give effect to the Code in response to COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 and, for some tenants, the first quarter of 2021.

This piece includes a summary of the Code and the regulations that were made to give legal effect to the Code from April to December 2020 and, to a more limited extent, the first quarter of 2021.


The Impact of COVID-19 on Property Contracts: Dyco Hotels Pty Ltd v Laundy Hotels (Quarry) Pty Ltd [2021] NSWSC 504

The recent case of Dyco Hotels Pty Ltd v Laundy Hotels (Quarry) Pty Ltd [2021] NSWSC 504 reminded me of a matter I was involved in last year during the first COVID-19 lockdown.

In that matter, Holman Webb acted for the seller of the freehold and business of a hotel.  Contracts were exchanged when knowledge of COVID-19 was only just starting to spread - although settlement was due after the public health orders had been implemented.

The lockdown caused hardship for many people.  Fortunately, in this particular matter, the parties came to a sensible settlement and the sale was able to proceed.

Contrastingly, in the recent NSW Supreme Court case of Dyco Hotels v Laundy Hotels (Quarry), the parties were unable to settle the dispute – with the seller terminating the Contract and keeping the deposit of $562,500.


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